A 21-year-old designer started her own label, Jagriti India, with the intention of helping the weavers of her birth state of Odisha, and also helping everybody perceive traditional fabric and handloom with a new perspective.
Launching the brand was not to earn and get fame but to share it with whoever is associated with her, from tailors to weavers she sources the fabric from. There are six garments in her Boss Lady line, ranging from simple to experimental.
She approached the Department of Textile and Handloom, Government of Odisha for an internship. Though they turned her away, they gave her a long list of weavers she could connect and work with, perhaps recognising her passion for working with them. She visiting weaver clusters in Raghurajpur, Gopalpur and four other places.
Weavers in Dhenkanal derive natural colours from pomegranate and even jackfruit. She understood that what one learns in college is only five per cent of what lies outside. She plays with fabric sourced from weavers as per the requirement after extensive discussions. Then she sits with one female and one male tailor, to hand-hold them through the process of stitching.
She has designed a bright pink pure cotton sari with motifs in patches from an old Kalamkari sari, belonging to her mother. She also designed an off-shoulder blazer, stiff, structured on one side but flowy on the other side, almost like a sari.
She feels like handloom evokes a picture of monotonous colours sometimes, like brown, indigo, black or white. She likes them in vibrant colours like orange or even in pastels, and is working with weavers to get desired colors.
Jagriti’s Instagram DMs are also filled with requests for menswear, which is what she is working on right now.