Sambalpuris and Ikats will now boast designer tags. The state government has roped in top fashion designers like Sabyasachi Mukherjee, Rajesh Pratap Singh and Bibhu Mohapatra with a view to promote and popularize Orissa handlooms and textiles within the country and abroad,.
"The leading fashion designers would work on a project with the state-run Boyanika (Orissa State Handloom Weavers' Cooperative Society) and Sambalpuri Bastralaya to help improve designs and create a market for Orissa handlooms and textiles," said secretary textiles and handlooms, Arti Ahuja.
"Orissa has a rich repertoire of cultural textiles and traditional handlooms," said designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee, in city on Monday. "Nowadays there is an increasing tendency towards cultural and traditional designs and Orissa textiles and handlooms, be it Kotpad or Sambalpuri, are going to see a revival," he said.
Apart from Mukherjee, Abraham and Thakore, Anjali Kalia, Bibhu Mohapatra (of Oriya origin, currently based in USA) and Rajesh Pratap Singh would work on the state government sponsored project spanning 18 months, said Rta Kapur Chishti, who is coordinating between the designers and weavers.
"My role is to sit with the weavers, help preserve traditional designs and wherever necessary develop new product designs," Mukherjee said. "I am not someone who likes to tamper with traditional repertoire. I will focus more on educating my customers and create a market for Orissa textiles," he said.
Chishti, who has authored a book on sarees from 14 states including Orissa, said the designers would work on developing sarees, dupattas, scarves and also fabric for men's wear from traditional state textiles. "Bibhu would join later this year, while the four other designers have already begun work," she said.