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Sat, 18 Nov 2017

Northeast Today

A Designer Carving the Meraki Way

A Designer Carving the Meraki Way
September 13
15:30 2017

August Edition, Fashion, NET Bureau, Chirasmrita Devi

When this psychology student came back to India from London in 2013, she realized that the ‘mainstream’ India was very much ignorant about her home state- Assam. Well, she could have sat back and lamented about it like others. But thank god, she didn’t! Instead she conceptualized ‘Pariah’, her brand, through which she debuted on the ramp of Lakme Fashion Week last year and became the fashion designer Pranami Kalita, spinning out a modern twist on traditional Assamese fabrics.

“I feel proud when people come to me and show interest to know about Assam and the Northeast, not just about the geography but also about its culture and tradition,” says the young fashion designer whose creations have been appreciated not just in India, but abroad as well.

‘A designer by default’ as she calls herself to be, Pranami has been smitten by fabrics, garments, and colours since her childhood. Immensely inspired by the designs that her mother used to craft on (her) mekhela-chadors Pranami’s craze for designs only increased, while she was in London pursuing Psychology. Attending fashion shows of her friends in London, who were parts of the London fashion Industry and interacting with the models and designers backstage added fuel to the fire inside her.

Pariah by Pranami

It is often said that Assam and the Northeast is disconnected (culturally to be precise) with the rest of India. To break this stereotype and (re)unite the two ‘disconnected’ areas, Pranami wanted to make an effort through the art in which she is at home. This urge in her resulted in the initiation of Pariah- her contemporary take on Assamese traditional fabrics.

Derived from a Persian (Farsi) word ‘Pariah’ meaning an ‘outsider’, the brand’s attempt was to establish the fact that Assam and Northeast are not ‘outsiders’ but very much a part of the ‘mainstream’ India, its culture and its traditions. Using indigenous silks of Assam like the Muga or the Assam Silk, Eri and Paat, along with fabrics from other regions of India in her designs, Pranami amalgamated different cultures into one in an elegant way. She wanted people to know more about the Northeast region through her unique designs in which she has succeeded to a great extent.

“Pariah is an extension of me. Each collection is a different facet of the person that I am,” she says.

When Panache Meets Creativity

Apart from being a talented fashion designer, Pranami is the owner of a larger-than- life personality and a very creative mind. Giving her best is not just confined to her brand, but Pranami loves to personalise the stuffs she puts on as well. In the words of the fashionista herself- “I like to add something of me in whatever I wear.”

Right from making a choker out of her mother’s old mekhela to customising her shoes, Pranami can revamp an old wardrobe in a snap. Seeing her chic DIYs when people ask her “from where do you buy your things?” she smiles and answers, “I don’t buy things, I do things!”

When it comes to styling, Pranami never sticks to rules. “I like to dress up in a feminine way with minimal accessories”, she adds. Although diamonds are known to be a woman’s best friend, Pranami’s BFF happens to be her pearls which according to her are her second skin.

Pranami Kalita Story

Good Artists Copy, Great Artists ‘Steal’

It’s very common to see one designer being ‘inspired’ by another designer. And now being a known name in the fashion industry, Pranami’s works have paved the path for many others to follow. However, there is a very thin line between ‘inspiration’ and ‘imitation’. As the saying by Picasso goes, a ‘good’ artist will see another artist’s style and will simply copy it. But a ‘great’ artist will take inspiration from others’ work and incorporate and create something totally unique.

Pranami opines that one can be illumed from the taste of another designer but reproducing a replica, waters everything down; for every designer is his or her own vision. Imitation limits a designer and scars the authenticity of the original creation. Pranami believes ‘Great Artists’ are always welcomed by the Fashion world with open arms.

Success was Served in a Platter: A Myth

I have nothing to wear, There’s not enough space in my closet

For some, these were the only hurdles that Pranami had to face for she has a renowned father.

“Some people thought everything came in a platter for me. But it was never like that. I, too, had my share of difficulties. A lot of hard work went behind Pariah before I could present it before the world. It is like my baby”, expresses Pranami. To print her thoughts out in fabrics successfully, Pranami met each and every weaver at their homes and explained the minutes of her concepts.

“I wanted my ideas to be presented and executed in the best possible way,” she reveals.

Consistently working on her designs and products and chasing her dream, from corners to corners without halts, finally opened doors for her dream debut at Lakme Fashion Week (LFW).

“It was like a dream for me. I kept pinching myself at the backstage”, says Pranami while sharing her ecstasy of being a part of LFW.

Conclusion

Within a short span of time, Pranami has been able to carve a niche out for herself, inspiring a few others on the way. Her designs are not mere a fusion of tradition and modernity, but an expansion of horizon for the Assamese cultural heritage itself.

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