The In-Thing: Ten Designers putting Kolkata and Bengal on the Global Map

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Fashion Technology has made great strides. Every thriving metropolis has a line of aspiring and established designers, making garments talk and shoes sing. Kolkata jumps a few places ahead in the queue to be crowned the fashion capital of India due to the groundbreaking work of many established designers who have taken the Cultural Capital of India as their home. Here are some of the best of the lot.

KIRAN UTTAM GHOSH

Glamorous yet simple, Kiran Uttam Ghosh is the darling girl of Kolkata; its in-house diva, who combines various influences to create her unique brand of what could be termed as ‘fusion wear’, clothes that are quirky and modern, yet resist the temptations of burnout and fickle trends. Her creations are much like the city she lives in, affordable fashion for everyone.

SABYASACHI MUKHERJEE

He is the colossus bestriding the Indian fashion scene, the person who single-handedly took Indian fashion to the fashion capitals of the world, from New York through London to Milan. He shows intense commitment to handloom, and brings forward prints, embroidery and artwork from the remotest corners of India to paint a grand homogeneous picture of our country.

SHARBARI DATTA

She is the cultural icon of Kolkata, with her customary attire of a handloom saree coupled with a big bindi. She grew up amidst the Bengali poetic-musical teacup of the 70’s and 80’s, which shaped her creations. Her USP is that she designs just menswear, and she uses Hindu mythology, pop-art and folk art to transform the dull Bengali ‘babu’ into a walking cultural museum.

AGNIMITRA PAUL

She adds the star power to this list. She started her career in the Hindi film industry, and then relocated homewards to Tollywood. Now, she is the staple in-house Tollywood designer, and the industry will have none other. An incident occurring around 2012 comes in mind while speaking of her, when she gifted Hilary Clinton a stole on her visit to India. Hilary Clinton responded with a letter which created quite a buzz in the local newspapers.
MEERA BASU

Older women of Kolkata who take pride in what they wear quote Meera Basu with a rustic vigor. Archaic and bearing old world charms; her muslin and handloom textiles have adorned celebrities and politicians for decades.

ABHISHEK DUTTA

Patronized by local and with an influence extending to national celebrities, Abhishek Dutta is a prolific designer catering to designs for the whole family; both western and bridal attire. Accessible designs, created in panoramic colors, define his work.

SULAGNA GHOSH

At the Siena Stores, she patronizes the rural arts of Bengal, and is committed to bringing traditional art coupled with indigenous weaves and embroidery practices to modern outfits. She has a chic new world sensibility, discernible in the way she introduces western attires to eastern consciousnesses.

KORA BY KANISHKA

Kanishka is a Saree label people have been flocking to for decades, and they specialize in raw silk. Their latest avatar is Kora, with designer cum entrepreneur Priyanka Raja at its head. She brings a no fuss, minimalist outlook to redesign old-age silks into new-age fusion wear. Indo-Western at its best.

DEV R NIL

Minimalist and simplistic, Dev and Nil are two brothers; who deal in solid frames and nuanced parlances of single colors, with natural motifs coupled with dense geometry. They have become a rage amongst the urban youth, and are mostly adorned by the local fashionable set of youngsters.

KALLOL DATTA

Kallol Datta is the controversial one; a mix of Eastern European and Middle Eastern themes which are localized. The use of drapes is paramount, adding shades of postmodernism to a hitherto non explorative domain. He claims to hate ‘bling and shine’ and explores the gory and the mysterious in his work. His dark clothing tells strange tales.

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