Sabyasachi Mukherjee is a Bengali clothing designer who studied at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. His work has been described as the “epitome of grace and brilliance” (www.kalkifashion.com). He has a shop called Pia Ka Ghar in California which features his designs (piakaghar.com).
Sabyasachi is known for his contemporary designs based on traditional Indian clothing styles and traditional Indian bridal wear. Additionally, he is known for his take on Western accessories (www.kalkifashion.com). Sabyasachi’s work is reflective of Indian culture in that it incorporates traditional Indian clothing style elements such as particular fabric choices, and often times, a modest aesthetic. His ability to appeal to both contemporary Western fashion and traditional Indian fashion has contributed to his immense success on a global scale.
Sabyasachi has established a very successful bridal business in India. This seems to be something he is very well known for as Indian weddings are such a culturally significant event. “Using indigenous crafts of dying and weaving fabric, incorporated with modern silhouettes, he has spearheaded a push by Indian designers into the broader international fashion market”. This quote from businessoffashion.com explains that Sabyasachi has inspired the Indian fashion and bridal market so much that it is now significant on a global scale.
Researching Sabyasachi and his work will affect my travels to India because I will now be on the lookout for his designs and people trying to emulate his style aesthetic. He is a very influential designer in India particularly. I will observe street style in India to see if I am able to see people wearing his designs or pieces that are meant to look like Sabyasachi’s designs.
January 15th was our last day in India and it was truly bittersweet. Many of the students on the trip, including myself, are missing their family, friends, and most importantly “American food”. We are all looking forward to sleeping in our own beds and getting back on our normal sleep schedule. What we are not looking forward to is the journey back home. Many of us today were discussing how much we are dreading spending another 17 hours on an airplane. However, these conversations subsided in the evening of our last day in India when were welcomed into the home of Sushil and Neelam Bansal, a guide that was with us for the first portion of our trip and his wife. Mrs. Bansal invited us to their home for traditional Indian games, food, and hennas. It was absolutely the perfect way to close this trip. India has such a rich culture and we were given one last reminder of that at the Bansal’s home. We approached their home to see it was decorated with fresh carnations strung along the outside of the home. One of our professor’s, Dr. Anu, informed us that flowers strung in this way are meant as a symbol of welcoming. Mrs. Bansal met us at the door and placed red dots on our foreheads and beaded bracelets on our wrists. We entered the home barefoot and were offered drinks and snacks. We spent the better part of the night at their home playing games, receiving henna tattoos on our hands, and experiencing a traditional Indian dinner. It was by far the best Indian food we had the whole trip.
I originally interpreted this evening at Mr. and Mrs. Bansal’s home as being quite a burden for them simply because there are 23 of us on this trip. That is a lot of mouths to feed. However, Dr. Anu explained that in Indian culture, the guest is perceived as a god, it is not perceived as a burden. Learning about this aspect of Indian culture and seeing how excited Mrs. Bansal was to have us all their changed my interpretation. I felt welcomed and very humbled that she was so happy to invite us into their home.
I feel the entire experience of our study abroad trip in India made me a more well-rounded person. My eyes have been opened to a new culture and also to so many new aspects of the fashion industry. At this point in the trip we have all become quite close, this time has allowed for our relationships with each other to grow. I will remember sitting in the living room of the Bansal’s home with 20 of my classmates and friends in India, drinking masala chai tea and braiding each other’s hair, a pastime we picked up on the bus. The last night we spent in India is something I will hold onto as one of my favorite memories of our time together. After our evening at the Bansal’s home, we left for the airport to begin our journey home.
So far on this 2017 J-term trip to India the most fascinating things I have seen so far have been the temples. We visited the Iskom Temple in Deli our first day in the country and it was an enthralling experience. The Iskom Temple in particular was my favorite temple to visit. The Iskom Temple sits on top of a hill in New Deli. It is an open air building with many levels and alcoves. The architecture is so unique. The experience of walking barefoot up marble steps into the temple was so calming. Our class entered wide doors to see large motifs and artwork placed around the room. People chanting and playing music echoed from the high ceiling and the smell of incense filled the air. People sat on rugs and meditated. It was unlike any other religious practice I’ve ever seen.
I was fascinated by the Hindu temple which was open to the public with so many people coming together to practice the beliefs they all share. What I saw was a place for people to escape the chaotic streets of Deli and find a sense of calm and center. Additionally, this temple could serve as a safe place for people who have felt they don’t fit it with people around them who practice a different religion. Everyone who experienced the Iskom Temple with me seemed to be very appreciative of the experience. My classmates were amazed and mystified by what they saw. I heard one student explain her experience as “pure” which I thought was an excellent explanation of my emotional response to this experience.
The part of this venture I particularly liked was that I was able to experience a religious practice that was so different from anything I have ever witnessed, in another part of the world. It was such a great opportunity to gain perspective on another religion. I feel experiences like these make people more well-rounded and understanding of cultures different than your own.
What will you see from students?
Some of the content is up to them - their choice but we have required a few things. You will read about designers in India, the rich history of craft in India, travel experiences and the many excursions to important cultural sights. Through each you will hear the student's voice and their reactions to their experiences.