Guwahati-based designer and entrepreneur Parineta Borah (29), started her clothing label, Jappi, about four and a half years back. Her own wardrobe is usually bursting with bright colours, youthful energy and quirky designs. Perhaps, it is her own style that inspired her to start the label.
Its Facebook page says, ‘Jappi is a complete hub for women’s wear, giving you a touch of indo-western look. It is a quirky design line at affordable prices.’ Her loyalists would admit that the label truly lives up to its claims.
Jappi, the moniker translates to a conical hat from Assam made from tightly woven bamboo. This naturally means that her designs are in fact heavily influenced by traditional elements.
The label is located at Hengrabari Road. It is mostly into women’s wear and customized men’s wear. ‘I work with indigenous textiles.’ She also works on handcrafted, hand embroidered mekhela sador, sarees, lehengas, et al. Her product line includes designer blouses, which apparently are ‘in demand’ now.
Growing up in Guwahati, Parineta was always interested in art and design. Over the years, she has acquired an interest in both the business and fashion aspects of the industry.
Parineta designed organic birthday cards for friends and family members. Her childhood bedroom walls were plastered with her own artwork. So, it was only normal for her to join a design college. She studied knit wear design from National Institute of Fashion Technology in Kolkata, which gave her a base and introduced her to the industry.
Journey So Far
Steadily trying to build her brand here in Guwahati, Parineta now also has her own design studio which she admits is a ‘dream come true’.
‘My journey so far has been a roller coaster ride. When I started off, I had nothing apart from a couple of years of work experience.’ She assisted well-known designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee in Kolkata, but always harbored the dream of venturing into entrepreneurship—owning her niche label.
She returned to Guwahati in 2013 after working for a couple of years in Kolkata, and had to start from scratch. ‘Jappi is like my baby, with each step it’s getting stronger and I can’t wait to watch it grow further.’
Talking about her struggles, and various ups and downs, she shares, ‘Handling my workers is a big challenge, and there were times when I was struggling to promote my brand as a whole, but now it does sort of have a market.’ She also reveals that an entrepreneur’s life is lonely and one has to work really hard to pursue their creative interests.
Challenges in the Region
The Northeast is home to a lot of talent when it comes to fashion, there are many fashion labels that have come up in the last few years. However, she feels that there is a lack of competition in terms of quality work and presentation. ‘There are many who do not follow any trends and just replicate a lot of stuff that they see around them.’
She also confesses that she is missing out on certain aspects in terms of her career. ‘I am learning and it gets very difficult when it comes to taking bigger decisions. Bigger goals require bigger investments, which too is a thing of foremost concern.’
Dividing her time between running her studio and also teaching at a private design college in the city, Parineta also does a lot of government projects, trains local artisans and develops other innovative projects. For now, her plan is to extend Jappi in terms of work and space. ‘I want to take my brand to another level so that it is recognizable even outside the state. I am working very hard for it.’
Written by Sanskrita Bharadwaj
Photos: Jappi’s Facebook Page.