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1 year ago
Lakme Fashion Week Summer/Resort 2018: When rural women turned entrepreneurs

There was a time Sunita used to earn Rs 20 from stitching blouses and now the housewife says she easily makes Rs 20,000 as now she contributes to the country’s top fashion designers, Amit Vijaya and Richard Pandav.

The artisan, who belongs to Rajasthan’s Bagru district (famous for its traditional natural colour block printing), is now a proud entrepreneur who has given employment to four more women under the Usha Silai initiative, a sustainable fashion label which was launched on Thursday at the ongoing Lakme Fashion Week Summer/Resort 2018.

“Earlier I used to work in other people’s farms. It felt a little lowly but I had to earn so couldn’t do much. Last year, Shyamji (from Usha) came to me and asked if I’d like to work for the company. It was that day and now.”

“Today, I charge Rs 50 to Rs 150 per blouse and I take additional orders for the clothes too. I’m too busy now,” Sunita, who worked on ‘Ranisthan’ clothing line, said.

She underwent a training with the designers in Kaladhera district in 2017 and said her family supports her in the initiative.

Santosh Kumawat from the Kaladhera Cluster, who is on her maiden visit to Mumbai like Sunita, said she has now put up a board for her unnamed shop where she stitched the clothes for the models.

“They come looking for me. They know where I live. They have even started calling me Usha after the sewing machine.”

Vijaya said the collection was named Ranisthan as it would be unfair to the women.

“It’s their time”.

He said they created deconstructed Rajput ‘poshak’ showing off colours of the desert to make it more comfortable for woman of any age and setting - rural or urban.

Sayantan Sarkar worked with Bengal’s 24 South Parganas Mastikari Cluster, Soham Dave with Gujarat’s Dholka Cluster and Sreejith Jeevan for the Puducherry Cluster for their respective collections.

Sarkar’s The Girl From The Pages Of The Diary stood out with big smocking portions at the abdomen area of the garments with Batik prints in pink, brown, green and blue khadi by Bengal artisans.

Jeevan said he was enthused after he saw women were taking great interest in the initiative and believes Window to the World collection perfectly describes the place.

“It is a blend of powerful Tamil culture, French colonial feel and the philosophy of the Aurobindo Ashram, that’s how it is a window to the world,” he added.

For Dave, the inspiration was the subject of his clothing line, The Black Machine inspired by the Black Usha Machine.

He said experiments were made with designs and with the black lock stitch machine and the collection sticks to its basic colour story - black and white - with minute detailing and sustainability.

Apart from Sunita and Santosh, two women workers from other clusters were present and also walked the runway with their mentor designers.

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