Designer Paromita Banerjee aces handlooms and sustainable fashion
YOU COULD CALL Paromita the odd one out in her family of government service holders and lawyers. But the 32-yearold chose to attend to her creative calling and launched her eponymous fashion label in 2009, and made it to the Lakmé Fashion Week Gen-Next the same year. Shining bright in the couturier’s resume is her starry clientele that includes iconic names such as actor-filmmaker Nandita Das, actors Vidya Balan and Shar mila Tagore, publisher Chiki Sarkar and singer Sona Mohapatra, among others.
With a specialisation in textile design from the National Institute of Design (NID), Paromita aims to make simple yet effective clothing in a variety of textiles, textures and techniques, and presents them in a purist and ethical way. The challenges, of course, were many, with capital being the prime one, followed by finding a market and audience for her products. “The challenge lay in being able to start from scratch, with no benchmark to follow and not knowing whether it would be sustainable and viable in the long run,” says Paromita, who started off with handlooms and was able to soon build a repository of customers who understand and appreciate her craft.
Her biggest achievement, Paromita stresses, is establishing a brand that stands tall in the face of a number of homegrown designers in the city. Elaborating, the voracious reader and globetrotter says, “We had started out by working with one or two weavers from a single weaver cluster. At present, we work with seven weaver clusters in seven regions of India, and our work has grown exponentially.” She tells us that she desires to dress up mother-daughter duo Aparna Sen and Konkona Sen Sharma, and Hollywood diva Julia Roberts, in her muslin saris. She also reveals that she is working on a bridal line and kidswear label Chottopa. Her wish list also includes building a lifestyle store and space that would not just sell products, but would be a meeting point for artists and artisans to exchange ideas and collaborate.