Bhubaneswar: Draped in an elegant purple-green Sambalpuri patta saree from the ‘Aastha’ collection designed by Swikruti Pradhan, Bollywood actress Tisca Chopra walked the ramp at Kiah Fashion Show in Odisha capital recently.
“It was a wow moment for me because she is one of my favorite actresses. Later, she came up to me and said that she loved the saree. I was on cloud nine,” said an excited Swikruti.
The young designer, currently working as a design consultant for a handloom cluster project for the Ministry of Textiles, was the exclusive designer for the fashion show. In the first round, she showcased sarees from her latest collection, ‘The Bomkai story’ along with Sambalpuri Ikat sarees. The sarees were draped in different styles and combined with different kind of tops, unlike regular blouse. In the second round, the acid attack survivors walked the ramp in ready to wear outfits from ‘The Bomkai Story’ and ‘Transition in Tradition’.
“I planned the sarees and dresses after a proper research on the Sheroes cafe and women there. I was delighted to be a part of such a noble cause,” she said.
Her love for fashion designing has been her driving force. “After working as a retail consultant for a few months in a consulting firm in Bangalore, I felt lost. Early in 2016, I quit the job and came back to Bhubaneswar and started working on my own label, Rustic Hue,” she continued.
She comes from a family where most of the members are engineers, so she shared about her initial struggles, “There was this typical mindset, you know, that I should be doing engineering or medical but I stood firm with my decision and my aims. Gradually, they started supporting me but, for a long time, I have been my own support. We all need to just have faith in ourselves and trust me, it will take a long way!”
She qualified the prelims at Gennext Lakme Fashion Week, where she had designed ready to wear women’s collection based on the concept of spirituality. The entire collection was developed by Ikat and Bomkai handloom weavers in Sonepur and Bargarh with pure silk and cotton fabrics.
She derives inspiration from nature, ancient architecture and things she comes across while traveling. She works with weavers in western Odisha in and around eight villages and tries to keep Odisha alive in all her designs. She says, “Working with the weavers is challenging because they refuse to open up but I still manage to find weavers who area ready to experiment and work with them”.
Besides, she also runs ‘Rustic Hue Jugaad’ where she follows a zero waste policy and creates accessories or clothing out of the post-production fabrics. All the acid attack survivors in KIAH were wearing up-cycled jewellery from her Jugaad line. “KIAH has definitely been a milestone. I have plans on working with the weavers to create more designs and go to bigger fashion shows,” said the young designer.