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Designer Sujit plans to revive Habaspuri saree

To revive the Habaspuri saree of Odisha, fashion designer Sujit Meher on Saturday organised a Habaspuri handloom revival workshop at Habaspur village in Kalahandi district of Odisha.

Scores of weavers attended the workshop to be part of an initiative. “We want to empower the weavers by giving them regular training, organizing the workshop, and providing equipment for weaving,” shared Sujit.

Born in a weavers family in Chichaiguda village where the habaspuri handloom originated, Sujit grew up seeing the weavers creating magic on the looms. “The work of the weavers of my village influenced me to be a fashion designer,” he said. 

“Habaspuri style of weaving is influenced by age-old tribal traditions of Kalahandi. The weaving, production, and design are unique with traditional patterns like Kumbha (temple), fish, tortoise, flower, tribal wall art, and tattoos among others. Temple motifs are also arranged longitudinally on the border of the saree. While the anchal has extra weft designs consisting of local motifs,” he shared. 

However, with the decline of dynastical rule, the weavers stopped weaving the sarees. The saree was revived again by master weaver Ugrasen Meher.

“I have seen weavers leaving their traditional weaving culture as they struggled to survive. The last time I met Ugrasen Meher, he urged me to do something to revive it again. Despite being awarded by the state government, Ugrasen and his family struggled to get basic needs for their survival,” shared Sujit.

Only three weaver families are continuing with the traditional weaving, he said.

“The project will help the weavers. A team has been formed which includes senior experienced weavers and new generation weavers. A skill upgrade training will be given to the weavers so that they can learn new techniques of weaving and match with the trend,” he shared.

Sujit is also planning to do a fashion show with new habaspuri collections so that it could reach people globally.

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