India is a diverse nation having diverse cultures. A huge representative of our cultural multiplicity is what we wear. Our country has the best weavers spread across the states. But, how often do we really get to lay our hands on the designs made by local weavers? Worry not because Duhieta, an apparel and handloom products brand that has recently opened in Cuttack, brings under its roof hand looms from Kashmir to Kanyakumari! The brainchild of Arpita Panda, Duhieta is just a few months old but is already becoming a brand to reckon with!
In a conversation with MCL, Arpita talks about her brand and also shares how despite being an IT professional, her love for textiles compelled her to leave her lucrative career. Excerpts from an interview:
What does the name Duhieta suggest?
The term Duhieta specifically denotes a bride. Duhieta is an Odia term commonly used by people staying in Odisha for would be brides. It depicts the life of a girl. Generally, for all Indians, marriage is not a coming together of two individuals but a coming together of two families. It is on the part of the woman to bridge the gap between two families. Thus the term Duhieta perfectly denotes the role of a woman where she dedicates her life in bridging the gap between families. She either makes or breaks the house.
Enlighten us about the brand Duhieta.
The brand Duhieta mostly deals with handloom products and the main motto of our brand is to merge the gap between the weavers and the buyers. The brand came into being in November 2015. We travel to distant locations like Mangalgiri and Punjab to bring the local handloom from those areas to our state. Like from Mangalgiri, which is a weaver’s hub, we got their handloom and then we brought the beautiful Phulkari from Punjab. We go to places and take out time and deal with the weavers and buy from them directly and then make it available for people here. We also cater to Odisha handloom but we try to bring in a twist. Like we have quite a few Sambalpuri sarees but we have done fabric art on them to give them a new look. So, the few Sambalpuri sarees that we have, all of them have pattachitra art on them.
So, what all does Duhieta offer?
We have kurtis, sarees, men’s shirts and kurtas, stoles and dupattas. We basically deal with ethnic because since we directly deal with the weavers & it is difficult to create modern, western clothes. The weavers will not be able to make western attire because all their life they have dealt with traditional fabrics and handloom. I do not design myself rather, I directly display the stuff procured from the weavers. It is all about the designs and prints created by the weavers themselves.
How has been the response so far?
The response since day one has been overwhelming. Usually people do not get much access to handloom products from various states, so this was a welcome change for them. Most of our products got sold out on the first day itself. People here do not have knowledge about handloom so when they walked into the store, we made sure that apart from selling our clothes we make them learn about the textile that they are buying.
How are your handloom products different from that of other handloom brands?
If you consider Fab India for example, you will find that they have their own production units but we do not have a manufacturing outlet. We travel and bring to doorstep the authentic textiles from weavers.
What is the price range of the products showcased in Duhieta?
The price range is kept minimal and won’t drill a hole in your pocket. There are sarees ranging from Rs. 1000 to Rs. 20000. We have suits starting from Rs. 1250 onwards to Rs. 2500. The ladies kurtis start from Rs. 650 to Rs. 950. There are some Lucknow stitched kurtis which are a little expensive and priced at Rs. 2200.
Your store has some beautiful wall art informing people about the textiles. What made you come up with the idea?
I believe that people should be well aware about what they are wearing. The story behind the fabrics is written on the walls. Be it chanderi or phulkari or any other fabric, we have tried to write the origin and history of the fabrics. I believe that people should know what they are wearing and I am glad that people are actually reading the information and making themselves aware about the fabric.