Debashri Samanta graduated from NIFT, Mumbai (2007) with rave reviews, winning the Most Commercial Designer Award from Pantaloons Retail India Ltd. She launched her eponymous label in 2013 after showcasing at the Lakme Fashion Week summer/resort 2013 in the gen next category.
It all started after Debashri (commonly described as a ‘weaveaholic’ by her friends) started formulating her field study about weavers all over in India. One thing that stood out was their very concern – handloom is a dying art and it has a very niche market. She began her brand with that very foundation - our art and our tradition has to evolve and become more attractive and easily wearable to the younger generation. She wants to move away from the stereotypical portrayal of handloom garments. To be that handloom has to become more flexible in its offering and get under the skin of those people with demanding lifestyle choices and worldly tastes.
Debashri Samanta is all about innovatively twisting the tradition of handloom techniques and changing its outlook – it is about becoming a popular craft. She began her no-print movement with this very sustainable mantra. She encourages all weavers to weave out of their comfort zone just on simple handlooms to come up with out-of-the-box placement weaves, asymmetrical motifs and non-repeat designs which can revolutionize the handloom market. The goal is to reach out to that section of the people (young and old alike) who can effortlessly blend her clothes into their daily wardrobe with or without harboring a love for the ‘handmade’. Our weaves are diverse, bold and offbeat – they tell a story and are not threatened if you cannot read that – it can still loop you in with statement cuts (almost impossible to attain with handwoven fabrics) and contemporary motifs. This is where the technical challenge is faced – she has engineered and reconstructed Jamdani handwoven fabrics to withstand strong stitching and given them a sheen that looks subtly rustic yet indulgently rich. The placement weaves and sometimes overbearing motifs with a meaning add more consciousness to handwoven fabrics fit for our time. To make handloom sustainable, Debashri wants her brand to embody that earthy yet urbane spirit which makes it stand out from all types and kinds of handwoven genre. It is a new-age vision of making handwovens lovable to all ages – make it trendy yet timeless while keeping that rustic purity about it. Her clothes do not belong to any country – her knowledge is native but her sensibility is future forward. Her Jamdani handwoven garments are one of a kind as they are fresh, evolving with every creation, experimental and free-spirited – built for that generation of women who knowingly or unknowingly come to love it for its comfort, attitude and endless possibilities.