Goodwill and customers' feedback kept designer Suchismita Dasgupta afloat in 2021
The lull gave ample time to Suchismita to restructure and rebuild her brand Nextiles, one of the first handwoven labels
Fashion designer and reputed Tollywood costumier Suchismita Dasgupta feels that the pandemic has evolved and reduced fashion trends into basic necessities.
“With most of us apprehensive to invest in things only trendy and expensive, the trend shifted more towards buying something expensive only if it was bought for keepsake. Otherwise, consumers mostly opted for things that could be recycled,” states Dasgupta, who is reputed for replicating authentic period looks in films.
The lull gave ample time to Suchismita to restructure and rebuild her brand Nextiles -- one of the first handwoven labels that promote sustainable clothing and local weavers – by working on its digital presence. “Pandemic had taught us a lot of things and in particular how to survive. The word phygital has become popular and so have various ways of cashless payment platforms. I am slightly old world, hence I had to struggle a lot but then I somehow survived,” says Dasgupta.
It was her passion for handloom, natural fibres, hand embroideries and prints that goaded Suchismita to start Nextiles many winters back. “I wanted that make handwoven stuff more affordable and stylish. With the onslaught of coronavirus, there was more thrust to my design process which is all about easy maintenance, natural clothes. I added pockets in all my clothes that make sure that you don’t need to carry a purse and I still made saris for those who wanted them,” she tells us about how she adapted her brand to the changing needs of the time.
This festive season saw Dasgupta coming with a whole range of eco-friendly handwoven saris and functional shift dresses to carry you through the day. “I have always been a champion of recycling and I see more and more designers recycling dresses and accessories which is heartening. And the same has also trickled into bridal wear. A greater number of brides are turning to fuss-free saris and lehengas that can be reused which is a reassuring start towards minimalism. Also, hiring the clothes and jewellery or selling your trousseau back to the maker for half the price is another emerging trend,” she observes.
For Suchismita, there had been zilch physical interaction with her patrons during the entire period of the pandemic and she shifted all her collection display online but she feels she needs to improvise her online presence more to leverage the benefits optimally. “While I really worked hard on developing products, I don’t think I spent enough time promoting them. Being a designer, I never really laid much stress on the commerce part of the job but social responsibility has always been very important for me. For me, my old clients and word-of-mouth helped me a lot during this time,” she tells us.
Currently, busy with designing impressive looks for Anik Dutta’s period film, Oporajito, based on Satyajit Ray, Dasgupta has plans for a wide range of bespoke clothing and creating new looks based on individual client needs. “My next collection won’t be until spring and I hope things will normalise by then,” anticipates Suchismita.