Fashion special: Couturier Abhisek Roy's Bohurupi has come up with a bright summer edit
Born and raised in Santiniketan, designer Abhisek Roy’s creations from his label Bohurupi have a distinct imprint of the small town in Birbhum district — khesh and kantha stitch being the dominant features of all his collections. His latest summer edit also bears his signature style. The collection is named Vandana, after one of his close collaborators in Tagore’s town, and is remarkably cool, classy and breezy.
Undaunted by the COVID-19 wave, the designer is offering his latest collection through Bohurupi’s social media handles with delivery at doorstep through select courier services. The 30-year-old couturier, who has also styled and designed the looks in popular Tollywood films such as Byomkesh Gotro, Konttho, Durgeshgorer Guptodhon and Sanjhbati, gave us a few exclusive looks at his collection, shot for us just before the coronavirus struck. We present a few glimpses of the collection here, along with a chat with the designer:
Tell us about Vandana.
It’s all about Santiniketan’s traditional handicrafts — khesh and kantha stitch, and it is an ode to my collaborator Vandana, who does all the hand-stitches for me. She has mobilised an entire village to do this unique appliqué kantha stitch work. I have used cotton as the base material, and black and creamy white as the basic colours, with splashes of bright shades. The clothes have interesting local motifs depicting daily life in rural areas, and the silhouettes are free-flowing — anti-fit with layering being a very dominant feature. I have used mulmul for layering. The lines woven in khesh are distinct, and the use of old fabric restructured within new ones stress heavily on upcycling and making fashion sustainable. There are summer jackets, shirts and trousers for men and long tunic dresses, palazzo pants and crop tops for women.
You have always worked around organic and natural weaves.
I have always worked with organic handwoven fabrics like cotton, linen silk or jute, and layering has been my strong point. I have always loved depicting the layers of human emotions through my garments. Besides, layering also helps during summer and the mulmul lining is soothing for the skin.
What is sustainable fashion for you?
Sustainable fashion is no more a luxury, it’s a necessity now. There’s such a crisis, and if we don’t practise sustainability in all aspects of our lifestyle, even when we are at the brink of destruction, I don’t think we will be able to survive. Reusable and organic fabrics are the only way forward. We work with local weavers and indigenous crafts, and the work that I do gives them newer opportunities and scope to improve their aesthetics, thereby empowering them through knowledge and new fashion techniques.
Your summer tips, and dos and don’ts?
Given the global pandemic, it seems that most of this summer will be spent at home. My advice would be to keep oneself happy because that reflects on your dressing. Wear nice, comfortable, feel-good clothes. Always go for bright, nice, summery colours, with a lot of yellow and blue thrown, which exude positive vibes. You can also try nice minty greens or cool shades of coral and aqua. Stick mostly to loose fit cotton and linens.
COVID-19 has influenced each of us to do our bit. As a designer, how has the lockdown inspired you to do something new?
I am making designer masks with upcycled clothes and leftover fabrics in my spare time, which I distribute around my neighbourhood. They are easy-to-make and sustainable. I am also making a few DIY videos to teach people how to do the same with whatever clothes they have at home. Besides, the lockdown has taught me to be more responsible about the world as a whole and design responsibly.
Model: Diti Saha & Shreyansh Jaiswal. Hair and make-up: Don Hsiao. Wardrobe: Abhisek Roy. Pictures: Gourab Ganguli. Location: Santiniketan