Published: 02nd September 2019
Looking for traditional weaves with a cool new design? This Insta page is where you need to be
Bhubaneswar-based Tania Khosla Taneja intends to pursue a design course alongside her work to supplement her present knowledge
Many have taken ikat beyond saris, but no one does it quite like the label Orissa By Tania (OBT) does. And they don't just use ikat, kotpad and the gorgeous Kapdagonda also make several appearances in their line-up. Roomy kaftans, smart-looking trousers, jackets, chic dresses — apart from the staple kurtis, skirts, suits and more are part of their collection. And the brains behind it all is Tania Khosla Taneja who is driven completely by her creative instincts.
On display: A model wearing clothes by Orissa By Tania | (Pic: Orissa By Tania)
A lawyer by profession, having pursued a Master's in Law from Duke University and who has worked at a law firm in New York and back home with the Khaitan & Co, she moved to Bhubaneswar six years ago. "For the last six months, I've been working with the beautiful textiles Odisha is known for and the communities who produce it," says the Jammu-born entrepreneur. And when she says working with, she really means it because she has personally visited the indigenous tribes to not only interact, but learn more about their craft.
On the cards is a project to work with a skill center in Odisha
Meet and greet
The first step was to visit the Dongria Kondhs, a tribe known for, among many things, the Kapdagonda shawl that has motifs like mountains, the sun and elements from their day-to-day life hand-embroidered on it. They worship the mountain range which provides them shelter, Niyamgiri hills. So the 32-year-old travelled to Bissamcuttack and from there to Kurli, a Dongria Kondh village. "They are very open to working though things have not worked out for them with others in the past. I am determined to sustain this partnership," she says. In the quest to search for the perfect kotpad handloom, she had the privilege of meeting master weaver Padma Shri Gobardhan Panika. Ikat fabrics, the more popular of the lot, is directly brought from weavers in Sonepur and Bargarh. "The supply chain, requirements and expectations are now set, though it is handloom and sometimes things are delayed," she says with a smile. It has been a tough journey convincing weavers and to give them confidence, but she finally succeeded.
In style: Chic clothes by Orissa By Tania | (Pic: Orissa By Tania)
Tania started the Instagram page for her brand 'Orissa By Tania' in May 2019 to reimagine handloom in a way only she can. Another cornerstone of their label is their zero wastage policy. The leftover cloth is used to design clothes for children or even small objects like bookmarks, rakhis and more to ensure minimal waste of precious handlooms. And with tailors in both New Delhi and Bhubaneswar, Tania ensures that the current weekly quota of four orders is met seamlessly. The mother of a 22-month-old (who has also modelled for the label) works with her master tailor closely, conducts design meets on a daily basis apart from sketching and conceptualising new designs every day. "My focus is increasing our social media and good word of mouth presence because these work more than a website," says Tania who considers herself the CEO, or as she calls it, Chief Everything Officer. "Seriously, sometimes when the photographer is not around, I even pick up the camera and start clicking," she says and laughs. The posts on Instagram are not just stylistically done, but each one is truly a lesson on accessorising and mix-and-match of outfits.
You can also place your orders on orrisabytania.com
Tania says that the right clothes can do a lot for a person and that her mission with her label is to ensure that, "when people walk out of their home wearing an outfit by us I want them to feel beautiful and confident," she says. Her style icon? "My father! Undoubtedly the most stylish man I know," she says.
The brains behind it all: Founder of Orissa By Tania, Tania Khosla Taneja | (Pic: Orissa By Tania)
A crash course in fabrics
Kapda gonda: After a hard day of work, women sit together to make Kapdagonda which is an exquisite shawl and is used in courtship rituals
Kotpad: Woven by the weavers of Mirgan community from the Kotpad village in Koraput district, Kotpad is a vegetable-dyed fabric. Usually, the fabric is used to make saris and shawls
Ikat: This famous dyeing technique needs no introduction and Odisha's Sambalpuri ikat holds a prestigious position
Some gorgeous clothes by Orissa By Tania
For more on them, check out instagram.com/orissabytania