Published: 16th August 2020
Odisha's Boss Lady, Jagriti Biswal's designs are what your wardrobe needs right now
She works with about 10 to 12 weavers across India. She connected with weavers from other parts of India after they DMed her on Instagram after looking at her posts about working with weavers in Odish
Picture this. An off-shoulder blazer, stiff, structured and very blazer-like on one side but flowy on the other side, almost like a sari. This garment, which was a figment of Jagriti Biswal's imagination, is now a reality and part of her first collection, Boss Lady. Quite the apt title, isn't it? The 21-year-old designer started her own label, Jagriti India, six months ago with the intention of not just helping the weavers of her birth state of Odisha, but also helping everybody perceive traditional fabric and handloom with a new perspective. "My motto behind launching the brand was not to earn and get fame but to share it with whoever is associated with me, right from the tailors to the weavers we source the fabric from. Though the brains are mine, the hands are theirs," she says wisely. There are six garments in her Boss Lady line and they range from simple to experimental.
Bestselling piece | (Pic: Jagriti India)
In March last year, Jagriti, with a twinkle in her eyes, 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. That's when she started visiting weaver clusters in Raghurajpur, Gopalpur and four other places. "On one hand, I would see them cry and lament on the state of affairs, how it doesn't provide for them enough, but on the other hand, they taught me a lot, so much so that when they would take a break, I would operate the pit looms," says Jagriti who pursued her Bachelor's in Fashion Designing from School of Fashion Technology, Pune. This month, she earned a profit of Rs 10,000 and totally, she has sold about 15 of her designs.
For the men | (Pic: Jagriti India)
"I've seen weavers in Dhenkanal derive natural colours from pomegranate and even jackfruit, just imagine! But in college, we learnt that natural colours can be extracted only from certain leaves or flowers. That's when I understood that what you learn in college is only five per cent of what lies outside," she shares. "What I do is play with fabric. I source the fabric from weavers as per the requirement after extensive discussions as to how exactly I want it. Then I sit with my tailor, one female and one male, to hand-hold them through the process of stitching," informs the youngster who was born and brought up in Bhubaneswar.
Another design | (Pic: Jagriti India)
Time for another 'picture this'. Imagine a bright pink pure cotton sari and on it, are motifs from an old Kalamkari sari, belonging to Jagriti's mother, all in patches. It's as gorgeous as you are probably imagining it, trust me. "I also feel like handlooms evoke a picture of monotonous colours sometimes, like brown, indigo, black or white. I like them in vibrant colours like orange or even in pastels and I work with the weavers to get the desired colour," she shares. Surprisingly, Jagriti's Instagram DMs are also filled with requests for menswear, which is what she is working on right now.
Winning blazer | (Pic: Jagriti India)
Pieces from Jagriti India:
- A pastel brown, pure cotton, sleeveless long blazer inspired from Sambalpuri fabric
- A kashida embroidery saree on white chiffon inspired from the beauty of Kashmir
- A tussar silk saree with pattachitra painting on it
Check out her work here instagram.com/jagriti_india