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Apr, 21 2017

WB government to launch premium fashion brand to save dying textile art of the state

Bengal, that also has a GI tag for Baluchari, is trying to make the silk a high fashion fabric that would not just save Baluchari from becoming extinct but also get the silk weavers employment under the product.

After tasting success with Biswa Bangla and Club Muslin, the West Bengal government is set to launch its third premium fashion brand to save a dying textile art of the state.

Christened 'Baluchari', the designer brand is being mentored and designed by designer Abhiskek Dutta and promises to revive the art of making Baluchari silk from districts of Bankura and Purulia.

Besides saris, the fashion brand will also launch shoes, bags, wallets, belts and furnishing all using silk.

Bengal, that also has a GI tag for Baluchari, is trying to make the silk a high fashion fabric that would not just save Baluchari from becoming extinct but also get the silk weavers employment under the product.

The chief minister is expected to inaugurate the brand's flagship store in Kolkata's high street Park Street soon. Working closely with the MSME department, Baluchari is being marketed by fellow state-run brand Tantuja and is moving towards international expansion.

Tantuja, a state government initiative under the West Bengal State Handloom Weavers Cooperative Society, recently made a turnaround recording three consecutive years of profit after incurring losses for 25 years with new marketing and retailing strategies. The brand will be applying the same strategies to Baluchari.

Rabindranath Roy, Managing Director, Tanuja , said, "The designer intervention will make the designs contemporary and take Baluchari beyond just outfits. Diversifying the silk to make it attractive for the younger generation is our target with brand Baluchari."

Roy added, "Since we are targeting the youth, we are also trying to make the products available where the youngsters like to shop. Like Tantuja's apparels, which are available on Amazon and Flipkart, Baluchari will also be available on the same platforms. Baluchari will also be sold on Amazon's global store so that it has a wider reach, especially in the US."

While Baluchari silk is mostly used to make saris, brand Baluchari will use the silk in innovative ways, said designer Abhishek Dutta.

Abhishek said, "Although we are trying to develop Baluchari as a young brand, keeping in mind the traditional designs, we are trying combinations that would grab the younger generation's attention. While saris are a prominent part of the collection, we have bags and shoes with Baluchari patches and some leather in puts to make it sturdy. We also have jackets and home furnishings to make the product attractive enough and break free from its `only sari fabric' image."

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