— JOY MITRA
I've observed Joy Mitra since his debut when he was resolutely determined to stick with his aesthetic of keeping the look stylish, elegant and timeless, with an Indian soul often inspired by Rabindranath Tagore. That hasn't changed. The designer speaks to us about navigating troubled waters and staying in business until the coronavirus curve flattens and people begin to shop again.
''This lockdown— and the world— is in standstill mode. Almost like a script from a movie. But coronavirus or no coronavirus, this was inevitable. We violated every resource available in the name of growth and development. Honestly, I think we were confused about the true meaning of development. Now, we're going through a huge economic crisis and we don't know what's in store for us in the coming months. But rather than feeling restless I'm at peace with myself and somehow I'm enjoying this "me time". Because now is the time to think how we're going to take the next step forward and become responsible for our actions. Individually— and eventually— a collective decision.
The future is uncertain. We need to be very vigilant — life will get even more complicated it seems although that will become 'the new normal' after some time. We need to reboot… rethink the product lines and become acutely aware of the need of the hour. Re-opening the store is not a good idea at this time although eventually we'll have to learn to live with the pandemic and start operations. The online store structure has been working very well in India and all over the world. Few years back it was hard to imagine that it could be viable but today everything is sold online. Post- pandemic, I feel this will gain momentum. E- stores will be the saviour and we need to work harder to make e-commerce even more effective for both buyers and sellers. The need of the hour is to look inward. We, as a nation, are known for our textiles, our hand embroidery, our art. Honestly, now is the time we should work hand in hand with artists and weavers to revive every bit of it. Work closely with Banarasi weavers, Kalamkari printers, Chanderi weavers and many more! Because they are the true artists of this country. So let's promise ourselves to buy 'Made In India' products and help each other survive…
People speak about sustainable fashion and sustainable living. The word 'sustainable' has been used again and again and again. But only if sustainability comes from our thoughts, our actions do we see results. We, in India, and in our Vedic culture, practice sustainable and practical since time immemorial. This is nothing new to our culture or country. We had just lost our way and forgotten the importance of nature and natural. In my designs, I've been using silks, cottons and chanderi. I swear by the sheer beauty and character of such handmade fabrics. That said, it's just not about usage of these fabrics. We need to live a suitable life. The work environment, the products, the logistics — and everything attached with all of it — has to go towards sustainability. We must also ensure that sustainability, ethical fashion and transparency go hand in hand. Today, consumers come from a space where they understand the need for transparency and ethical practice. Personally, I'm in sync with that mindset and practice. It's imperative for the long run of any organisation to have a strong customer relationship and understand each other. We, at Joy Mitra studio, have realised that consumer mindset is evolving. Post- coronavirus I feel this mindset will change more than ever. That's why we are determined to educate our consumers, friends and society on the importance of respecting nature. Everything will flow smoothly after that.
Sure, we all have our aspirations and dreams to fulfil. That is only natural. But my honest advice is to follow your dreams… but be responsible. Responsible for your actions which affect you, me and everyone around. Buy Indian, promote Indian. Most importantly, slow down. We need to understand that less is more. Please don't get caught in the trap of use- and- throw. Buy products you'll cherish for a long time… not just for one evening. As an entrepreneur I might want to sell more and grow the business and revenues. But as a true artist I urge you to slow down and make the right choices, intelligent choices. Value art, craft and enjoy our creations.
Looking ahead, we are moving more and more towards online sales and technology is key. QR codes, no- touch payment will become 'the new normal' in due course. We have to become technology savvy and use it to our utmost benefit. I'm a die hard optimist and I feel this pandemic will make us more PRACTICAL, more REASONABLE, more HUMAN. It was needed.''