Abhishek Roy’s label Bohurupi Santiniketan is taking Bengal’s age-old upcycling traditions forward
For Bohurupi Santiniketan’s newest collection, Abhishek Roy is using a one-of-a-kind homegrown weave called ‘khesh,’ usually produced in the Birbhum district; the fabric also marks a strong recycling tradition existing in several parts of Bengal, as its technique accommodates recycling of used cotton fabrics to attain the complex weave.
Roy, who started out as a stylist was lucky enough to have Santiniketan as his training ground, and his label pays an homage to the indigenous artistry which emerges out of the cultural hub.
Not only does Roy masterfully connect age-old textile arts with the ever-evolving sartorial needs of the millennial generation but also sticks to the ethical fashion memo; in fact his last spring/summer collection was entirely upcycled from his grandmother’s saris. His jamdani capes and dhakai jackets will give you a sense of his fashion agenda. So, how does the stylist and designer get the glitterati to go ethical? Here’s finding out:
How has your work as a stylist evolved? Is it more challenging now?
The job pattern has changed, even a few years back, people weren’t all that conscious or interested in having a personal stylist. It’s very new for Tollywood, it has emerged in the last three to four years, and now of course, the demand has gone way up.
Everyone is asking for a stylist, even it is for a movie outing. I’d say our work has developed more; when I started out, I was only styling for the big screen. Now, it’s much more diverse.
How convenient is it to have your own label, as a stylist?
It does help, it’s something of a backup, because you can always pick something up from your own line-up and use it on people. It leaves you with more choices
How has Santiniketan shaped your work?
I studied in Santiniketan and that place brings you closer to nature. It has consistently given my inspiration, it has shaped my designs and it has even helped me stay true to a sustainable mode of production. My label is very tethered to Santiniketan and the place influences all of my numbers; for instance, for my autumn/ winter collection, I’ve again made use of handloom which originates there.
This time, I’ve picked up a specific kind of embroidery, an applique stitch and I’ve added my signature elements to it, and have featured it as part of my line-up.
Are people willing to spend more on upcycled clothing now?
Yes, they are. I think it’s because they are more concerned and I should say it’s high time people should start worrying about sustainability. And luckily, the buyers here are actually quite willing to spend money on something that is good and new and ethical, especially now.
As the country finally starts paying attention to ethical fashion, can you recommend two practical/ achievable ways everyone can contribute to take zero-waste fashion forward?
I feel like the general awareness should always exist in a buyer, not just about the fabric but also about its production and usage; especially when it comes to re-using leftover fabrics or scraps. Recycling has always been a huge focus for my label, there’s a huge amount of fabric waste that we see coming up. I never throw away even a single re-usable scrap.