Sustainable Kolkata labels Aranya and Bhomra spell out cool summer trends
The global style gurus might forecast the fashion edicts for the year, but local factors almost always play a crucial role when it comes to wearability, especially during the sweltering months of summer in a humid city like Kolkata. And keeping the weather in mind, a few popular homegrown, sustainable clothing brands are coming up with some extremely sassy yet comfortable lines of prêt wear for the fashion-conscious crowd.
The clothes in local weaves are fuss-free and affordable and help you to tackle the heat, sweat and grime with panache. This time, we showcase two very popular local brands, Aranya and Bhomra, who have been ruling the city’s fashion scene with a steadily growing number of patrons, who also look out for sustainable and affordable fashion. It was the lack of the right kind of party or resort wear in weather-friendly natural fabrics that goaded Chandoni Basu to design her own clothes, later paving the way for her brand, Aranya.
For the past eight years, Chandoni has been passionately churning out smartly cut, globally appealing dresses in locally woven fabrics, primarily cotton, which is hugely popular across the ages among the city’s fashion elites. This year too, her brand has come up with a stunning range of summer dresses in khadi handloom and organic cotton with signature block prints. “This time, all the silhouettes are anti-fit, and the colour palette is light. There are flowing kaftans, loose-fitted dungarees, noodle-strap tops, harem pants, ghagra skirts in various cuts, including asymmetrical hemlines and sleeves,” offers Chandoni.
Each piece has small interesting details like tops with bows and loops, with some Western tops sporting a very Indian locket back. This time, the brand has also a lot of print-on-print looks with block prints, dabu and ajrakh prints ruling the scene. “Apart from the shades of blue, the colour palette consists of pastel hues like lemon yellow, lilac, soft browns and khaki. Though layering is not at all advisable in a humid city like Kolkata, yet the trend of lightweight summer jackets over noodle-strap tops has really caught up, and so we too have a wide range of light, summer jackets in various lengths,” offers Chandoni.
Two-year-old brand Bhomra is famous for replicating the typical sari fabric into very fashionable Indo-Western wear and this summer, the label has come up with an impressive ensemble displaying old tangail jamdani butis and motifs in very trendy summer dresses.
“Our focus has always been to familiarise the global crowd with the age-old fabrics of Bengal that are restricted to the nine-yards only. My clothes cater to the modern women who don’t always find the time to drape a sari but would love to have a feel of it somewhere in their attires. Hence there are tops, skirts, pants and dresses in various weaves of tangail and tant, typical fabrics used in Bengal saris,” says Sriparna Ray, founder-designer of Bhomra.
This summer too, she has come up with an eclectic collection consisting of kaftans, airy pleated pants, flowy skirts and quirky tops in easy and comfortable silhouettes. “We have used specially treated cotton, which has a very soft texture to it, and also a little bit of khadi. The colours, apart from blue, range from mustards and bluish greens to neutrals like black-and-white,” she adds.
Prices at Aranya start from Rs 750 and go up to Rs 6,000. Prices at Bhomra start from Rs 500 and go up to Rs 5,500.
Model: Hiya Mukherjee / Clothes: Aranya and Bhomra / Styling: Poulami Gupta / Accessories and shoes: Aranya and Rangili / Hair and make-up: Abhijit Paul / Pictures: Arpan Dhar / Location courtesy: DW Studio, Sutaira, Salt Lake CJ Block