Pure Bengali idioms, a little rusty on the tongue, slip out while interviewing Soumitra Mondol. It is a little difficult to avoid the language, since the designer is comfortable in his mother tongue. He is equally comfortable while blending the creative and the hardcore practical aspects of his craft.
Enthusiasm pours forth when he talks about the "modern" embroidery he sketches out for his karigaans, while he is coldly realistic when he reveals that he tailors his collections to suit international trends. "If the market says volumise, I will do that. If the market favours certain colours, I will go for the same palette. After all, I am designing for the people," he explains.
It is this same practical-creative approach that has finally brought him into the charmed circle of the Lakme Fashion Week which begins on March 27 in Mumbai. "I knew I didn't want to do anything monotonous for a living," he remarks. So even though he was a science student, Mondol pursued a fashion career. He wanted to be an artist, but in an art that paid. "And I knew I'd succeed here in Kolkata, since it is such a minefield of superior resources, be it weavers or print makers."
He has come a long way since he finished a diploma course in fashion from the now defunct Anirban Institute of Fashion. His stint under Rahul Gupta, a graduate of the Kolkata NIFT's first batch, was more useful. A year and a half later: he was ready Today his label, Marg, is stocked at the Little India boutique and Surbhi, an exclusive showroom, both in Kolkata. The label has also stretched its wings further by becoming part of the Aditya Birla Nuvo's 'Linen Club'.
The LFW is the next step. Mondol took from the 17th to the 20th of February to get over the shock of being selected in the Emerging Designer category at the LFW.
"Then I started working on my collection at breakneck speed. For me, it is a tremendous platform to get the kind of mileage and business I want for my label," he says.
What makes Mondol stand out from the other seven participating designers from Kolkata is his wearability You could picture yourself in almost all his garments. "I want 70 to 80 per cent of the people who see my show to love my collection and wear it."