Threading The Needle: Inside Suta's Homegrown Casual Saree Renaissance

Suta stands as a testament to the enduring power of creativity, community, and inclusivity.
Suta stands as a testament to the enduring power of creativity, community, and inclusivity. Suta

A brand that reminds you of old Bollywood songs and gossiping over a cup of tea with your best girlfriends, is what Suta reminds us. Founded by sister duo Sujata and Tanya Biswas, Suta has captured the hearts of saree enthusiasts all over the world, one casual saree at a time. The founders always had a love for sarees that grew over the years and they eventually wanted to create a brand that preserves the casual appeal of sarees and to promote the art of traditional Indian weaving. 

2016 marked the birth of Suta, a year when the founders decided to take their passion for sarees to the next level. They launched their brand with a small but carefully curated collection of handwoven sarees. The vision was clear from the beginning: to create sarees that were not only beautiful but also comfortable and versatile for everyday wear. Diving deep into their growth over the years and the vibrant community that is at the helm of it, we caught up with the founding duo to learn more. 

How Creativity and Community Drives Suta

While fashion trends and brands come and go at a breakneck speed in this day and age, Suta stands as a beacon of creativity, community, and timeless style. They’ve captivated the hearts of people across India and beyond, not just with their stunning handwoven sarees but also with their unwavering commitment to building a thriving community that celebrates individuality and self-expression. They have carved a niche for itself by championing the idea that sarees can be both simple and fashionable. In a market saturated with heavily embellished and traditional sarees, their approach was refreshingly straightforward: create high-quality, easy-to-wear sarees that appeal to the modern woman.

Their journey began with basic sarees with a touch of creativity. The initial collection featured simple sarees adorned with colourful tassels — a stark departure from the ornate sarees dominating the market. But Suta's commitment to quality was unwavering. The founding duo, along with their family, painstakingly removed the starch from each saree to ensure they were soft and comfortable from the moment they were worn, and despite their exponential growth, they still spent months perfecting simple pieces that could be worn in a million different ways. 

But the brand's commitment to celebrating individuality and self-love extends far beyond the threads of their sarees. They actively encourage customers to share photos of themselves wearing Suta sarees, regardless of their age, body type, or appearance. One of the most remarkable aspects of Suta is its vibrant and inclusive community. In a world where negative comments and trolls often plague social media, Suta took a stand. They refused to allow their customers to be subjected to hurtful remarks and provided a haven where self-expression was celebrated. This ethos fostered a sense of belonging and sisterhood in their community, with strangers becoming friends and supporting each other in their journey to self-love.

Artistic Collaborations and Meticulous Saree Crafting

Suta is a brand that promotes creativity without bounds and creative collaborations have been a cornerstone of their brand journey and community building as well. They use their sarees as a canvas for artistic expression, collaborating with artists and creators to produce unique collections. One noteworthy collaboration was the Pride collection designed for drag queens, celebrating diversity and self-expression. Another heartwarming collaboration was with Amrit Khurana, a painter on the autism spectrum and an ardent follower of Suta. Her interaction with the brand resulted in a collection featuring her artworks, proving that creativity transcends boundaries and can be a powerful medium for expression.

But even without collaborations, creating each Suta saree is a meticulous and time-intensive craft. The journey begins with designers brainstorming ideas based on the seasonality and relevance of the collection. Once a concept is established, the designers choose a weaver cluster that aligns with the vision. Being a homegrown brand, Suta works with weaver communities from across India, including Uttar Pradesh, Bengal, Assam, and Kashmir. They ensure that the weavers they collaborate with have consistent work throughout the year, aiming to uplift these traditional artisans and their families.

The sample-making process involves close collaboration between the designers and the weavers, usually facilitated through digital means. Once a design is approved, the sarees are sent back to the villages for production. The weavers work at their own pace, in their homes, ensuring they can balance their livelihood with their family life. Every step of the way, the quality is checked and ensured.

The Essence of Being Homegrown

For Sujata and Taniya, being 'homegrown' carries deep significance. It embodies the spirit of entrepreneurship, resilience, and authenticity that homegrown brands represent. It's a reminder of the days when they packaged products by hand and charted their own course in the absence of a defined path. Homegrown brands, they believe, are defined by their dedication to the product or service, their attention to detail, and their unique narratives. These qualities set them apart from mass-produced offerings and resonate with a generation seeking authenticity and connection.

With the creative landscape in South Asia experiencing a renaissance, they believe that technology is a key aspect that is enabling homegrown brands to reach a wider audiences. They give credit to the aggregator platforms that are supporting smaller brands, as they have played a significant role in breaking down logistical barriers and connecting entrepreneurs with a global audience. In an era where consumers value products with stories and a personal touch, South Asian entrepreneurs are poised for success. As they continue to celebrate their culture and heritage while embracing innovation, the founders behind Suta believes that the next decade promises to be a remarkable era for South-Asian creatives and brands. 

What Lies Ahead for Suta

In the coming months, Suta is set to open two more offline stores, adding to their five existing ones. What's remarkable is that all these franchises are women-owned, highlighting the brand's commitment to empowerment. Additionally, Suta is expanding its offerings by launching three new brands under its umbrella, focusing on stitched garments catering to different segments of their audience. They are also working diligently to address inventory issues and are planning more meetups to engage with their beloved community, sharing the warmth and love that define the Suta experience.

In a world where fashion can sometimes feel shallow and impersonal, Suta stands as a testament to the enduring power of creativity, community, and inclusivity. Their journey reminds us that fashion is not just about clothing; it's about embracing our individuality, fostering connections, and celebrating the beauty of simplicity. Suta is not just a brand; it's a movement, a celebration of self-expression, and a tapestry woven with love, creativity, and community.

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