Kolkata designer Anupam Chatterjee's Warssi is famous for its anti-fit, sustainable apparel
Anupam Chatterjee opens up about the city’s first style studio, and his commitment to sustainable fashion
You might recognise Anupam Chatterjee as a leading designer, or as a sustainable fashion revolutionary, or even as a handloom revivalist, and creator of the relaxed anti-fit clothing label, Warssi Kolkata. Or you might simply know him as one of the earliest stylists to emerge in the city’s showbiz scene. “Technically, I think I was the second stylist from Kolkata. I started out around 13 years back, and I’ve styled everyone from MS Dhoni to Virat Kohli, Aditi Rao Hydari and Chitrangada Singh... These are just some of the few names that come to mind. I have worked with designers like Debarun and Sayantan Sarkar, and I have learnt so much from them. Now, I own the city’s first style studio, Warssi Kolkata, which is also the name of my label. It’s not just a studio or a store, it’s like a home, for me and my friends. We also do a lot of consultancy, makeovers and wardrobes. It has honestly been a wonderful journey for me. When people come to my studio, I talk to them about their personalities, and the kind of work they do, so I can curate their look. I consult about their hair, and shoes, and we also have a customised section that is really popular. At times, I plan a look for six months,” Anupam tells us.
Anupam started his sojourn as a designer around six years back, and although his South Kolkata studio Warssi Kolkata is just about a year old, it has already found phenomenal resonance with the glitterati and millennials from the city. “You know I wasn’t looking for a swanky space at all, I was looking for a homely place where my people and I would want to spend time. You’ll see that my Rashbehari studio is based out of an antique residential building — it still has a vintage shitalpati, etc, and we drink cha out of bhaars. My friends gather there, we make music, we sit and chat — it’s all very relaxed. I have a strong connect with rural Bengal as well, and we also have Bauls dropping by to sing for us,” adds the designer. Warssi has a huge focus on sustainable fashion, and Anupam himself has worked relentlessly over the last few years to keep the handloom alive in his work. He reveals that everything in his collections is made of eco-friendly materials, which are not a threat to the environment, and simultaneously represent the forgotten heritage of Bengal’s handlooms.
“We work with weavers in and around Kolkata, and almost exclusively with handlooms — that has always been important to me. In fact, even when I’m designing my bridal numbers, instead of using zari or gota patti or brocade, I make canvas lehengas or kalamkari lehengas, and people love it so much! You cannot imagine the versatility of a canvas skirt — you can re-wear it with a top and jacket, as part of a daily wear look,” says Anupam, who has designed for almost every notable name in Tollywood from Paoli Dam and Anupam Roy to Shiboprosad Mukherjee.
Anupam reveals that his role as a designer started out quite organically, and his love for anti-fits is almost synonymous with his brand’s aesthetic, earning him the nickname, ‘anti-fit Anupam’. “I have always been designing my own clothes and people would come to me and ask me where I got them from. I love working with anti-fits, and you’ll find boxy numbers and relaxed dresses. Young professionals, especially, do not want fitted clothes in summers, and they also, want to look dif ferent. My new summer collection heavily features pastel anti-fit dresses, and roomy floral maxi and short numbers with different kinds of silhouettes,” adds the designer, who also offers some stunning silver jewellery.
Dresses start from Rs 3,500 and menswear anti-fit kurtas start from Rs 3,500