Published: 11th August 2020
Meet the 22-year-old from Assam who is recreating Disney princesses draped in a traditional mekhela chador
Rashni Konwar from Assam is a one-woman army! She shoots, dresses up, does her own make-up and creates versions of famous Disney princesses in traditional Assamese attire. Here's how
Who doesn't love Disney princesses? Don't tell me you never played dress-up as a kid where you recreated Snow White, Ariel or Mulan? Hailing from Assam, Rashni Konwar, might have grown up but she definitely hasn't grown out of the fantasy to do what countless girls have done over the years. And there's a catch! All of Rashni's Disney princesses are dressed in traditional clothes and jewellery that are unique to the Northeastern state of Assam.
The 22-year-old student and UPSC aspirant tells us that she was inspired by model and make-up artist Hamel Patel, who recently went viral for her recreation of Disney princesses with an Indian twist. Rashni, too pays homage to her cultural heritage by reinterpreting classic female characters such as Snow White and Sleeping Beauty in traditional Assamese clothing. Famous for its vibrant colours, handwoven craftsmanship, and ornate jewellery, the Assamese traditional attire perfectly complements the fantasy and imagination of Disney characters.
Rashni began this project on Instagram last December but stopped in between for some personal reasons. She restarted it in June this year and since then she has created Assamese renditions of 12 Disney princesses. "I am done with all of them but now my followers have also requested that I recreate Elsa and Anna from Disney's Frozen franchise. They are quite popular among youngsters today. I will definitely give it a try," quips Rashni.
She is a self-taught make-up artist and is currently preparing for the civil services exam after completing her graduation in Anthropology. Rashni creates the ensembles herself, uses jewellery that she already has at home, does her own make-up and also gets the photos clicked all by herself — she is a one-woman army! In all her recreations, Rashni is seen wearing the traditional handloom Assamese dress, the mekhela chador. The uniqueness of this dress lies in the two-part differentiation of the drapes. The mekhela is the bottom portion that is draped and pleated to fit across the waist. The chadar forms the top portion. "I had to choose different styles and colours of the mekhela chador to portray each of the princesses' unique dressing styles. What we all have known since we were children is that certain colours and patterns can be related to each of the Disney princesses — they all stand out in their own garments and have separate identities. I have tried to capture that with my recreations as well," explains Rashni. She has also used dupattas for the top portion in order to make them as close to the gown designs that are specific to each of Disney's princesses. Rashni's make-up too looks surreal.
She is also an artist and has another Instagram page that features her artwork. It mainly consists of portraits, watercolour paintings and sketches of animated characters. Rashni also paints shoes and can customise them according to what people want. She tells us that the whole point of this project was to create more awareness about the state's culture as not a lot of people know about Assam's traditional clothes and how they are worn. "On Instagram, the audience is huge and varied. We are all connected on the platform and I thought this is the apt place to make people from other states aware of our culture in a fun and interesting manner. They will notice and eventually, people would want to know more about it. All my posts also contain details about the clothes and the jewellery I have used. I am also planning to recreate the famous cartoon characters in Powerpuff Girls. Let's see how that works out," concludes Rashni.