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Garhiahaat is a unique area in Kolkata or Calcutta as it was known in the 70 ‘s . This era was in transformatively different time and Gariahaat , a predominantly sleepy Bengali neighbourhood which had exquisite Bengali Bari ‘s in the bylanes s and the bustling high street on the main road had a very peculiar culture . Still reeling in the nostalgia of British Raj & Bengal ‘s active participation in the Indian freedom movement , the ideology of what Bengal thinks today , India thinks tomorrow was an intrinsic mindset of this area which was very cosmopolitan in its outlook but rooted to tradition .Garhiaat was a hub of the transition period and the quaint conflicting period caught up in memories of glorious bygone era along with neo communism and democracy in this neighbourhood with European club culture existing with adda culture , jam sessions with Rabindra Sangeet and European cottage core existing with the newly revived Indian cottage industry was the inspiration behind this collection .
The spirit of Garhiaat was an urbane outlook mixed with deep sense of conventional Bengali perspective.The Anglo Indian community still dictated fashion preferences and the natives were fiercely proud of their textiles and crafts so this collection tries to capture and interpret this spirit . Global gingham checks and pinstripes in popular picnic colours of strawberry red , indigo , neutral grey , ecru in jamdani woven in Phulia along with traditional rustic khadi fabric with surface ornamentation of European flora and fauna needlework and Bengali kantha and patchwork along with the prevalent boho inspirations are used along with Bengali art of chappa which is hand block print and screen printing . Dainty laces , crochet work along with rustic blanket stitch and similar detailings finish the collection and the silhouettes are reflective of the bohemian era of 70’s and are layered .
The collection is a celebration of slow fashion and is timeless , season fluid , versatile and sustainable. It embodies the supremacy of Indian textiles and crafts and is rooted in another era but is yet very global and relevant .
Yes I am a regular visitor to Garhiahaat and go for regular shopping and eating sprees for exquisite tangails , intricate kantha , mouthwatering aloodum and sandesh .This area has something for everyone till date , from curated shopping stores to amazing cafes , authentic local cuisine and street food to unique cultural experiences this area has something to offer for everyone .
Calcutta is my hometown and having grown up in this deeply cultural city , I got my first exposure to art , craft and textiles in this glorious city . Growing up amidst the club culture , Rabindra Sangeet recitals , frequent visits to innumerable museums and planetarium, historic sites and the Oberoi Grand for cold coffee , Kwality for tutti frutti Icecream and Kalibari for Puchka , I could go on forever . My Alma mater Modern High School and Loretto college further shaped my wings and though I don’t really go to kolkata anymore but they say ‘ you can take a person out of kolkata but can never take kolkata out of that person ‘ , this being true in my case only my kolkata was Calcutta .
The last 15 years I have learnt a lot as an educationalist, as a designer , as a board member of FDCI and as a creative person that we Indians have a unsurpassed legacy of crafts and weaves and glorious textiles and we don’t need to ape the west . The world is looking at our country and it is our duty to empower Brand India .