Arunisha Sengupta, Co-Founder of Choli Boli, A brand that designs “different” kind of saree blouses for beauty, tells an interesting story about the blouse.
“It is said that the plain blouse has evolved from the Western fashion of the tightly corseted innerwear – which should be in the fashion of colonial women. Before us by Raj, it is the wife of Satyendranath Tagore (brother of the famous poet Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore). – Gyananandini Debi Thi, who popularized the modern style of blouses, jackets, chemise and saris, was denied entry into clubs under the British Raj for allegedly wearing a sari draped over bare breasts. Hence the “blouse” was born of “oppression” and the basis of “fitting” was like the wife of Satyendranath and as Rabindranath insisted on his wife! “He clarified.
However, Manika states that saree is a “special” garment, usually worn by urban millennial women during festivals and occasions.
The research uncovered an interesting fact – sarees are not considered “comfortable” to be worn for formal meetings. They may have evolved over time, but there was still a long way to go with the upper garment.
Who is behind the corset
Manika and her daughter Arunisha started the Choli dialect last year and launched a series of cholis, which defined the entire notion of a “very tight and form-fitting” blouse.
“Gone are the days of blouses and now are the days of choosing blouses that match sarees. It’s time to speak boldly, where you can put one side to reveal your true look in front of the world. Now, these cholis Match sarees that talk about your attitude, ”says Arunisha.
Arunisha Sengupta is an experienced Marcom professional and was part of the prestigious panel of founding members of Blue Ocean IMC, a young state-of-the-art agency. Prior to that, she was with Percept Profile, a communications group, with Topps Security for more than eight years and as Vice-President Corporate Communications.
Manika (67) controls the final production of clothing while Arunisha Sengupta (47) oversees marketing and operations. She works with designers and artisans who bring Cholis to life with their expertise.
The startup employs migrant workers, who have skills, reach out to closed communities across Mumbai and provide them employment.
Each blouse tells a story
“I am not selling ready-made or order-to-blouse. I am telling a story – in which I believe. The blouse should be freed from the trap of wrong attitude. As there are saris, my team and I have created ‘statement cholis’ which have attitude.
So, if you are a tea lover, then there is just one blouse for you; If you are a poetry lover, then there is just one blouse for you; If you love Hollywood, there is another collection for you, ”says Arunisha.
The categories of collection of Cholis are as follows:
My country: Fabrics made from Dhabu, Kalamkari, Azrakh, Bandhej, Ikat such as Khadi, Mangalagiri, Kota, etc. in Indian prints and styles.
Corporate: Made from soft linen, breathable cotton and uniquely tailored as a formal dress, these are meant to keep you comfortable throughout the day.
Multicolored Happiness: These fun “saree tops” are made from lightweight materials for a young consumer.
Tea Collection: Hand-painted and hand embroidered meats are made of meats.
Hollywood Diva: The collection features poses for eminent Hollywood actresses such as Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, Sophia Lauren and Audrey Hepburn.
Sufi: A collection dedicated to the four greatest mystics of the modern world: Rumi, Omar Khayyam, Amir, Khusro and Khalil Gibran. Hand-embroidered, patched and worked, some of the Cholis have famous verses of poetry embroidery.
The two did a turnover of Rs 1,00,000 and launched Choli Boli’s e-commerce site six months ago. Phase 1 is about targeting all Indian women. In Phase 2, the co-founders want to expand their target audience to include the LGBTQ community and the Indian diaspora.
The ambitious plan, Arunisha says, is to “get the whole world to adopt sari as a mainstream global dress”.
While the COVID-19 had affected their operations, the pair saw a surge in sales as soon as the ban was lifted.
Arunisha feels that there should be more women entrepreneurs in India, as she has been given many profit and equal opportunity platforms.
Arunisha says, “I wonder why I didn’t start my venture earlier, but yes, if there is anything that can stop women, it will be their own mentality and social pressure. If they put their mind into it, No one can stop them. “