It is said that a bud will sooner or later bloom to its full potential. Same can be said for Madhuri Debbarma, a fashion designer from Tripura, who has emerged as a sought-after stylist in the state where the new generation is looking for ways to adhere to traditional attire but with a modern twist.
According to Madhuri, the youngsters of the state want to incorporate traditional weaves in their outfits so she designs lehengas, tops, and dresses which have a Tripuri element in them. She also regularly dresses Tripuri celebrities for their public appearances.
Fashion designing is a career choice that few people make in the indigenous community. For many decades, the choice of profession has been limited to finding a job as a teacher, engineer or a doctor. While there is nothing wrong with that, even as a child Madhuri knew that she wanted to give wings to her imaginations.
“I was born to a modest family and I found that people are not kind to children like us. So, at a young age I decided that I am going to be famous,” says Madhuri. She had an eye for designs and dresses even as a child so she thought that she should try her luck in that direction.
Madhuri was born in 1981 at Durga Chowmuni village. She was born to couple Puspalaxmi Debbarma and Harmani Debbarma. She has three other siblings. Her initial schooling happened in the village after which she moved to Agartala for higher education. She graduated in Arts from Women’s College in 2001.
The designer used to stitch her own outfits in college which used to get a lot of compliments and queries from teachers and students. "Women and girls would come up to me and ask, 'This top is beautiful, who designed this?' and when they found out I did it, they would request me to make a similar one for them," Madhuri reminisces.
Due to her immense talent, Madhuri decided to take admission at the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) in Kolkata. In 2002 when she went to study fashion, there were very few indigenous people pursuing such degrees. Hence, Madhuri decided that she will give it her best shot.
After finishing her course, Madhuri returned back to Tripura and began to design clothes for singers and performers in the state. She also held a fashion show in 2004 to showcase her work where she received much praise for her perfectionism and impeccable tailoring skills.
Over the years, Madhuri has also become popular for fusion wear where she makes wedding gowns that have elements of our traditional weave called “chamathi bubar.” Madhuri opened her boutique called “Fashion Hub” this year to reach out to more people. Her store reflects her colourful personality as well as her penchant for different fabrics and designs.
Madhuri believes that Tripuris are very fashion conscious and so her store will add to the choices that people will have.
About the author:- Suparna Jamatia is a journalist and talk show host from Tripura. She loves meeting new people and learning new things. According to her, field reporting is the most fulfilling part of her work. She hails from the Gomati District.