Fashion designer Sanjukta Dutta needs no introduction. Bollywood divas, top models now sashay the ramp in her beautifully embroidered mekhela chadors and fabrics from Assam.
Winner of Dadasaheb Phalke Excellence Award 2018, Sanjukta grabbed the spotlight when actor Bipasha Basu walked the ramp in one of her red and white mekhela chadors at the Lakme Fashion Week 2016.
To pursue her passion, she gave up her job as an engineer in the Public Works Department of the Government of Assam way back in 2013.
From Bipasha to Priyanka Chopra to Tabu and from Manisha Koirala to Dia Mirza to Malaika Arora, the traditional Assamese attire has become the buzzword in the runways.
In an interview with TIME8, Sanjukta shares anecdotes about her journey so far. Read on…
- Did you always want to become a designer?
Sanjukta: I never had that exposure but yes, I always had a flair for it. Weaves and colours always excited me ever since I was a young girl.
- What made you quit a Govt job and become a full-fledged designer?
Sanjukta: My inner calling was always designing. I decided to follow my heart when I thought I was capable enough to take the risk.
- Are you self taught or did you study fashion designing?
Sanjukta: I think it’s about your interest and indulgence that pushes you to perfect a work of art after several failed attempts. I have learned about this art on the job majorly.
- How things changed for you after Bipasha Basu walked the ramp in red-white mekhela chador?
Sanjukta: It helped us put the mekhela chador on the national map as it’s rare that you see a regional drape reaching a national platform. We have never looked back since then.
- Tell us how things changed for you ever since you started and today when Bollywood stars feature as show-stoppers in your shows
Sanjukta: The weave from Assam has been accepted at the national-level .Thanks to all my showstoppers who had come forward to support us and made the mekhela chador more trendy and fashionable.
- How many weavers are working for you now?
Sanjukta: We are mostly a woman-led unit of at least 115 weavers. When we started, it was more about the regular colours that you will mostly find in our silks but with my participation in the fashion weeks, I learnt more about the fashion sensibilities and we started customizing stuff. We have received amazing response from all over the places.
- Apart from being a designer, you are also into fitness gym business…
Sanjukta: Fitness to me is about being thankful for this life.
- You also spoke about depression on your Facebook profile…
Sanjukta: Yes I did and I am not ashamed to accept it. I believe we all go through something like this but how we deal with it makes us the person we become .It’s about being honest to who you are and helping others around you to find their purpose in life.
- What is the biggest lesson that you have learnt since you launched your label?
Sanjukta: Learn and unlearn.
- What advice you would give to young designers?
Sanjukta: Follow your heart and create a niche for yourself.
- What’s next?
Sanjukta: I am working on my collection for the next FDCI show in March this year.
- Colours to rule 2019: Red
- Girls should experiment with: Wearing dark colours
- Wardrobe of any popular actress/personality you would like to loot: Vidya Balan
- Best well dressed celeb in Bollywood & Hollywood: Deepika Padukone Nicole Kidman
- Politician you would like to dress: Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The handloom sector gained popularity due to him. I would like to dress him in a kurta pajama and Nehru jacket.
- Fashion mistakes: Imitating in the biggest mistake people make. Be comfortable in your own skin.
Guwahati | Edited by: Arpita Das | First Published: Jan 05, 2019