Silk is not just limited to Mekhela Chadar: Parishmita Das

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HRDOYH is an artisanal silk brand born out of a need for smart and timeless design that transcends trends, HRDOYH is committed to the use of local craftsmanship combined with top quality natural fabrics such as silk to create a collection of accessible luxury pieces. All products are made using ecologically friendly materials and sustainable processes.

Founder Parishmita Das stands by the idea of “handmade by people not factories”. HRDOYH pieces indicate durability, reliability as well as good appearance and features because the fabric has been woven by local weavers and tailored by artisans giving every piece of clothing an emotional touch. You may find variations in motifs, designs and embroideries, making HRDOYH uniquely yours.

HRDOYH started in 2019 by Miss Parishmita Das who is very attached to the sericulture of Assam. She gave birth to this brand to connect the skills of the weavers to the modern consumers. She says “we are a clear representation of Assamese heritage and its nonchalant simplicity. We aim to preserve Assam silk and reinterpret it in a contemporary way.”

Exclusive Interview by Priyanka Paul (PP) with the founder of HRDOYH Parismita Das (PD)
Founder Parishmita Das

PP: Why and how did you think of starting HRDOYH?

PD: I started hrdoyh with the idea of preserving our handloom silks because the youth isn’t aware of its capabilities and its potential and the fact that muga silk is rare and exclusively harvested only in the North east region of India. I was interning with a textile manufacturing unit and I realized its potential in terms of exports and how important it is for Axom to carry on their silk lineage.

I feel deep down “Axom” the land of golden silk and beautiful cocoon rearers is where I source my inspiration from. Everything hrdoyh stands for and portrays is for my motherland.

PP: What is the meaning behind the name HRDOYH in context to the industry you are working?

PD: Hrdoyh means the cosmic heart, so in terms of the handloom industry it stands for the hearts of all those weavers, spinners, cocoon rearers and other artisans involved in the entire laborious process of sericulture. We want to represent our skills, our craftsmanship in a way it communicates to the modern consumer and that they accept hrdoyh’s pieces in a contemporary way just like they accept any other brand that makes western clothes.

PP: Who are your inspirations?

PD: Like I said earlier the root of all my inspiration comes from Axomiya literature, its landscape, its people, the culture, the food and of course every now and then it’s the people you surround yourself with; my team.

PP: How is HRDYOH going to uplift the weaving industry of Assam? 

PD: Hrdoyh works with home based weavers who are just housewives and despite being engaged in various household activities through the day, is likely to spend some time on her loom everyday. These women mostly think about cooking for their children & family and cleaning the house, going to the rice paddy fields to farm. That’s it! They have fun in their looms while making fabrics for us. This makes them feel independent in a way that their work brings more value outside their home as well .Their skill matters somewhere out there in the world and hrdoyh connects their joyful emotions to the modern consumers. Hrdoyh takes pride in knowing that our clothes bring our customers closer to these home based weavers that lives and breathes this legacy.

PP: Why is HRDOYH different in others comparison? Who are your competitors? 

PD: I would’nt say hrdoyh is different, it’s more of a “niche” brand. It’s for people who love natural fabrics like silk; who understands and appreciates fine craftsmanship, who has a connoisseur for wearing exotic silk and knows something made out of this will last a lifetime and can be passed down from generation to generation. It’s for people who want to opt for slow fashion; buying fewer pieces and can wear it over and over again without losing its charm.

Well the fashion industry is already a competitive market. I feel in terms of quality of product, its design and craftsmanship no one in north east is hrdoyh’s competitor however when you put it in terms of pricing then everyone is a competitor. We want to offer our pieces in an affordable range that covers our cost of making as well as consumers doesn’t get into the misconception of silk being way too expensive.

In a way I want the millennial and the Gen Z to adopt the idea of wearing silk such as “eri” for everyday purpose. Eri is such a comfortable fabric you can make casual shirts out of it during summers and can also make heavy structured jackets or blazers during winters. It’s a great alternative for denims. So, we are kind of on a mission to encourage the youth to appreciate local textiles.

PP: Did lockdown and the COVID19 affect your business?

PD: Initially we had to pause! We had to stop but being a sustainable brand we are well aware of nature’s call. We were shut down for 6 months and our team was sad but we knew we would start again. So, I came up with this idea that weavers will weave from their home in their own looms and thereafter will collect and get it to our tailors who will start stitching one at a time. Slowly, this helped us carry on with our work and now with testing facilities and much better understanding of this virus we are able to go forward.

PP: According to you what are the steps governments should take to uplift the weaving industry in Assam?

PD: They should start creating weaving schools for people to actually want to learn this art form, so we can continue to carry on our hand craftsmanship. Back during the Ahom dynasty’s time the queens would open weaving schools for their daughters and as well as other interested family members.

Support silk farmers and perhaps provide subsidies and grant loans for growing more mulberry trees. We definitely need more trees to produce more quantities if we seriously want to uplift the community financially who are involved in the sericulture business. The govt. can and should provide lands to these farmers for planting more mulberries, Som trees who are skilled in rearing silkworms.

PP: What are your USP?

PD: We play with a variety of silk and show variation in terms of design, tailoring and cuts. People are attracted to our craftsmanship, our embroideries and the fact that we offer contemporary clothes with traditional fabrics. Now, they see Muga silk in a new form. People are actually starting to think about Eri silk being street friendly among the Gen Z.

PP: How many people are engaged with you in terms of managing, investment, providing raw materials and other necessary activities?

PD: We are a start up brand and we have only five hard working members in our team. It’s me, my mother, the brand strategist and our weavers who are spread across Dhemaji district & Dhakuakhana.

PP: What are your future goals, how are you planning to take HRDOYH internationally?

PD: We have certain goals for the future. hrdoyh has potential to go international and we are working hard on it however, it’s the Indian market that I am interested in tapping. For a long time Indians have neglected their precious textiles which the western countries adore. With hrdoyh axomiya community should know that silk is not just limited to mekhela or for just weddings. It can be smartly crafted into everyday wardrobe essentials.

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