Suta’s ‘Land of the 7’: Thread that binds
Clothing brand Suta’s latest collection, ‘Land of the 7’, features saris that promise to bring out your wild side
What is the common thread among Madhuri Dixit, Vidya Balan, Kangana Ranaut and Mithila Palkar? Well, they have all, at various points, been spotted in Suta’s breezy, breathable saris and designer blouses. As have thousands of other women seeking that extra sizzle from their slinky six yards.
Which is exactly what they’re getting from the brand’s latest collection, ‘Land of the 7’, which launched earlier this week. Hailed for their saris’ bold colour palette and motifs, elegant aesthetics and ease of wear, the Suta sisters, Sujata and Taniya Biswas, have taken things many notches higher this time around, bringing eccentricity and exuberance with eye-catching digital prints.
Reimagining florals for spring and taking inspiration from mythological creatures and insects such as dragonflies, the new collection of seven striking saris boasts unique pieces in illustrations, vibrancy and allure. It makes use of bio-based fibre such as modal, which lends the saris a subtle sheen and softness, as well as high durability. What’s more, they’re also wrinkle-resistant, making them easy to drape.
What sets Suta apart from the sea of sari brands is how it has reinvented the garment to make it reserved not just for occasions, but one that can be worn every day by the modern Indian woman. Secondly, it has brought various crafts such as block-printing and dyeing from different parts of India to the forefront, combining them with its distinctive design language.
Suta, derived from the first two letters of the founders’ names, aptly means ‘thread’. Originally from Kolkata, but living and working in Mumbai, both are engineering graduates, who had successful corporate careers that they gave up for their first love—handlooms.
The label, which launched in 2016, is essentially an adult interpretation of a “silly” game from their childhood, where they would “sell bags made out of handkerchiefs”.
It was this lifelong love for handloom and art that propelled the siblings to pursue their business venture. “Whenever we travelled to Kolkata and met weavers in the neighbouring villages, we were mesmerised by their sheer genius and the love they poured into every creation. After several such meetings, it became apparent to us that this was our calling,” says 35-year-old Taniya.
The sisters work with a variety of textiles, including cotton, silk, linen, viscose, modal and cotton silk. But the fabric that has earned them their name and fame is the light-as-air mul cotton. “It’s our most favourite material,” they say, “It reminds us of the saris our mother and aunts would wear around the house every day. And how beautifully it lends itself to various iterations, including our ruffled and our chumki (sequin)-studded saris,” they add.
The objective, from the beginning, was to build Suta as an enterprise that nurtures a community. “The outpouring of support we’ve received proves that women (and men) around the globe resonate with us and the values we stand for,” says 36-year-old Sujata.
Initial hitches included fixing supply and winning the weavers’ trust. They began by collaborating with two weavers. To make the production process seamless, the sisters set up factories at regional levels in different states, including West Bengal, so that the artisans could communicate in the local language and collaborate smoothly with each other. Currently, the brand is backed by 17,000-plus craftspeople.
“We want to work with every artisan in the country,” says Sujata. The other dream is to switch to 100 per cent natural fibre products to maintain the lowest carbon footprint possible.
“We also want to set up brick-and-mortar stores where patrons can touch and experience the beauty of handmade, artisanal products. We are keen to diversify the crafts we work with and expand into new categories,” adds Taniya. The brand has already branched out into accessories, clothing for men as well as home linen, and opened a flagship store in Bengaluru last November.