Now is the right time to promote Odisha weaves as there has been a growing demand for them in the international market, said New York-based Odisha-born designer Bibhu Mohapatra, who was in the Temple City on Monday.
“Odisha has a rich repertoire of textiles and traditional handlooms, be it Kotpad or Sambalpuri. My Resort-2012 Collection, where I had used some digitally modified print forms of traditional Odisha handloom designs including ‘temple borders’, turned out to be a huge success,” Bibhu told this paper.
The leading fashion designer is working on an 18-month project titled ‘Design Reference Collection of Odisha Handloom’ with the State-run Boyanika (Odisha State Handloom Weavers’ Cooperative Society) and Sambalpuri Bastralaya to help improve the designs and create a market for Odisha handlooms and textiles. For the project, he has been working with weavers from Western Odisha regions like Nuapada, Nuagaon, Sambalpur, Barpali and Bargarh.
Bibhu said as part of the project he had submitted 40 to 50 samples to the Textile Department a few months back. “I will be reviewing the designs that the weavers have created from the samples, correct them and accordingly make them market-ready. By market-ready, I mean using the traditional designs with minimal changes to suit the contemporary modern needs of the fashion industry,” said the designer.
“I am also looking for some agents in New York who can market these designs and fabrics from Odisha to international designers,” he added. Bibhu also met Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik in this regard.
Besides Bibhu, five designers - Rakesh Thakore, Anjali Kalia, Rajesh Pratap Singh, Rta Kapur Chishti and Sabyasachi Mukherjee - are working on the project.
NIFT VISIT: Earlier in the morning, Bibhu visited the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) and interacted with the students. He went around the NIFT campus and reviewed the infrastructure facilities.
During an interactive session with students, he said: “You all are lucky to have got a national-level institute like NIFT in the State today. Had I got such an opportunity when I decided to enter the fashion industry, I would not have shifted to the US.”
Speaking on the occasion, NIFT Director K C S Ray said efforts are on to encourage more Odia students to take up fashion designing courses in the institute. “We are in talks with educational institutions heads’ to raise awareness on courses in NIFT as not many Odias are coming forward to join the institution despite reservations for them,” he said, adding that NIFT will be hosting an exhibition-cum-career counselling session on fashion designing for students and their parents on October 16.