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Getting to know Fashion and Lifestyle Influencer – Jayasmita Dutta

Published by weekendtrivia on

Hello everyone! Its that time of the year again. Durga Puja/Navratri/Dussehra is upon us and the entire country is gearing up for the festive spirit. The ten days of a mad rush, a feeling of free-falling, of indulging in extra food, of bonding with families, of letting your hair down and becoming your best fashionable self. It’s time to welcome the Goddess, celebrate Shakti and unanimously unite together to celebrate the biggest festival season of India. And this time is again a reminder that even being of diverse cultures and traditions, we all unite under one big hood..

On the spirit of the occasion, WeekendTrivia brings for you a heart-to-heart talk with few ladies who are dynamic, beautiful, successful in their own ways and breaking norms and labels with their life-style and thoughts. They are the influencers of our times, who refuse to be labelled as such and yet are looked up by many. Gone are the days when the only style icons were the film/television celebrities and when we craved to look like them.

These ladies have broken the barriers of ideas that fashion is only for celebrities, only meant to be done on certain occasions and definitely not at work! The rules are changing and these beautiful ladies bring a myriad of a fresh and positive outlook for you all. They are also explaining why we need to give up fast fashion, condone to handlooms and sustainable fashion more and become more thoughtful about our purchases. They are people like you and me, girls next door, bringing out their best self.

Starting off the first day of festivities or Debipokkho with a very beautiful and talented woman Jayasmita Dutta. She is a dedicated worker, a mother of a lovely daughter, a doting family woman, and a Saree Lover!. Her thoughts, her choices pf upcycling and recycling, her determination of bringing back happiness and sunshine to our lives is what her Instagram profile is all about. Read on to know more about her.

But first, Follow her on Instagram@saree_nari

P.S. All the pictures are owned by ©Jayasmita Dutta and reproduction in any form, without prior permission, is prohibited

Q. Please introduce yourself.

I stopped searching for the meaning of life rather, living in the moment with the people I love. This is how I found myself!

I am Jayasmita Dutta, based out of Bangalore, India. I am a mother of a curious 5-year-old girl who keeps reminding me of choosing my words and deeds carefully. I wake up every morning saying that I will not limit myself and start my day as a mother dressing the child up for school, working out soon after and gushing through Bangalore traffic to work. At work, I keep focusing my energy where it really matters. This keeps me productive and energetic. My motto is to spread sunshine and energy. I must keep my surroundings positive, therefore you will see my name in Insta Handle @saree_nari as Happiness+Sunshine. The evenings are with my daughter, playing and reading stories. My time with my partner starts late in the day when we unwind and discuss the day and then we retire. Therefore, weekends are the days I totally dedicate only to family. And in between all the chores, while travelling to work or during the unwinding period, I work on my Instagram handle.

The Beautiful Lady – Jayasmita Dutta

This is an ideal day, offset of these routines happens and is ought to happen. I gather myself back and move ahead. At times I fail, and EQ doesn’t work pragmatically.

I was born and brought up in Silchar Assam and I love my hometown. I left the place to pursue education and its been 16 years I haven’t lived there. My roots are strong and pull me. My parents and in-laws are there and are the reasons we holiday there. The nuances of a small town are what I miss, there isn’t much of stranger anxiety there, everyone is known and amicable.  I miss the constant rebellion with my sister (pun intended) and the family around me.

Q. What kind of a professional are you?

Academically I am a Microbiologist and work in a pharma giant in Clinical R&D. My current role is in Business Excellence area which involves supporting a business with processes, risks, issues, improvements, etc. The fun fact here is I haven’t changed my job until now. 11 years and still going. I have some strict professional ethos and that defines me as a professional. Inclusivity, walking the talk, integrity and doing is what I follow.

Trust me, I never had a fixed aim while growing up. I followed the stream flowing and landed here. However, when I landed, I knew I needed to grow strong and stronger I grew.

Q. Why is your page called Saree_nari?

I believe in bringing saree back and that has been my attempt since 2015 with the inception of #100sareepact. I was introspecting what defines my style, my reason to be on Instagram and most importantly myself. And all I could think of was saree_nari, which seemed catchy and apt. It crossed my mind, and became my personal branding

Q. Your thoughts on the handloom and Saree industry of India and what can we do to protect it?

Handloom industry in India is ancient, colossal and depicts richness, diversity and cultural heritage prevalent and preserved in the county. The rising competition from the power loom, fast fashion, cheap imports, coupled with the availability of other remunerative employment opportunities for the handloom workers has loomed threats over these looms. It has now become imperative to undertake measures for the development of the Indian handloom industry. And this is happening, with raised awareness of handloom products, sustainability consciousness and people popularising the handlooms products, it is not a dream that handloom will see a rise soon! A lot of work yet to be done in this.

For me, a saree is a precious piece of heirloom, passed down through generations. It need not have to be expensive to be precious, it’s the love, the warmth, the feel of the garment and the stories associated. Every saree tells a story and I am here to share mine. With these stories and sarees, I am trying to contribute towards the handloom industry by consciously purchasing and collaborating with brands which are working towards uplifting this industry.

I have a lot of thoughts towards improvements in this sector and some I have enlisted below

  1. Handloom is a fragmented sector with various weavers’ societies. We must amalgamate the weaver societies to do things together including buying raw materials and dyes etc.
  2. Government plays a pivotal role in the textile value chain and can revamp the various societies which are working towards this cause.
  3. Boosting local markets and bazaars thus increasing the accessibility of villagers to sell their products and increasing the sale of handloom. Also boosting international trade fair participations
  4. Increasing state emporiums and making them more popular. Right now, we hardly have 1 state emporium per city and not in tier 2 cities and other places. However, the irony is we see fast fashion stores everywhere!
  5. India’s “Make in India” or “Create in India” or “crafted in India” should be popularised more, by e-commerce channel
  6. And by tie-ups with commercial organisations and influencers who will work towards sale of the products
  7. We must not forget, handloom comes with a cost. We must not forget the blood and sweat behind each woven fabric. And so, creating a niche premium market helps and is prevalent too.
  8. Celebrating National Handloom Day on 7th August with as much gaiety as any other big celebrations in our country
  9. Last but with foremost importance, enhancing skill of weavers and their next generations and other people too. It will take a village to raise one woven garment.

Q. What inspired you to start your Instagram page? Please share what does your Instagram profile is all about and how did your journey start?

It’s a good question! It makes me remember why I started, and this reminder helps me align myself to the greater goal. My goal is to create myself, strong enough to face adversity, brave enough to let go of what others think and say and loving enough to embrace life.

The millennials restrict draping sarees and limit it to only to festivals, religious places or special occasion. We even have an ethnic day to wear sarees at work. I asked myself why can’t saree be a daily wear for us? Why do we have to look forward to wearing it on a special occasion? I wanted to change that, and I have successfully changed myself and many others who now wear sarees often. Think about it, wearing a saree was a part of the previous generation’s up-bringing and they are so comfortable in it that they even slept in it. If it’s such and they could, why can’t we? That’s why saree_nari!

Also, another thought behind creating @Saree_nari was joining saree sisterhood and getting inspired by phenomenal people who are all over, who are working towards their cause, living their lives, not necessarily professionally successful, most importantly who are better humans and contributing positively.

My insta feed and stories are all about pieces of my daily life, the constant conscious association with sustainable brands, moving towards and maintaining sustainable lifestyle, bringing that positivity to the world which keeps me going and sharing with people that I am human, I fail, I learn, I unlearn, and I move on and I live. I love writing and this is my blog where I pen my thoughts. It’s also to contribute towards style I believe in and how I take my sarees everywhere

Q. Does your profession require you to travel a lot, sometimes outside the country as well? How do you manage your family life along with traveling and running an Instagram page?

My job requires a lot of travel, mostly outside India and that’s the kick I get to perform well. I am a travel buff and all I think when I am not travelling is about it! So, for a person like me, it’s high when the job takes you places.

I have a great support system around which helps me during my travel. My parents and in-laws are flexible to come over and help me, a nanny to whom I owe my life and of course my partner becomes the super Dad especially when I am travelling.

Managing family gets easier as I don’t usually stay away for months, the longest has been a month and the shortest is a weeklong one when abroad. And it isn’t difficult. And running an Instagram page happens on the move. Shoots, when required, happen early in the day (not on weekends, as I mentioned about my family time) and content brainstorming happens spontaneously. I write about my daily thoughts which play tunes in my mind and this writing happens when I am in an auto/cab, or just sitting alone waiting, or even when I am in the toilet (fact!). Thus, running this page never caught me off-guard.

Q. How did you come up with the idea of wearing a saree to work even outside India? What were the reaction of your colleagues and other locals when you wore an Indian Ethnic wear to work?

I have been wearing sarees to work in India and so didn’t have a second thought about wearing sarees abroad. I wasn’t extremely comfortable when, for the first time, I came out of my hotel room wearing a saree in my first travel. The moment my eyes met with a stranger in the lift, I received a compliment. What a start! I felt proud. Our country has such a rich tradition, and considering this and showcasing the same when I am abroad made me very proud and happy. And it’s my power dressing!

It’s a great conversation starter. Not just at work, where randomly colleagues come up to you complimenting and touching the fabric and ogling, but also in cafes or any place. Many a times people come up to me and say how beautiful I look. What more to widen the grin. People love Indians and that I believed in these travels. So many people tell their India travel stories or share their bucket list about India and many random conversations. Some colleagues even complimented the bindi and I carried a set of bindis in my next travel. In one such travel, I didn’t wear saree the first day and colleagues came up to me to ask why!

Wearing sarees abroad, not just for work but holidays too got me many vivid memories and stories and proud moments.

Q. Till date which places have you visited? Which is the favourite amongst them all? How do you feel about travelling solo?

That’s a long list. In India, I have travelled to places in Assam, Meghalaya, Karnataka, Sikkim, Kerala, Delhi, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Orissa, Pondicherry, Goa and Maharashtra. Lot more to travel in my country and I aim to go to 15 places in India in the next 3 years. Only 1 done in 2019. None solo so far in India.

Official travel took me to Europe and Asia. In Asia, I have been to Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan. All solo.

In Europe, I have been to the UK, Belgium, Netherlands and Italy for work and I covered the rest of the places either solo or with colleagues.

My favourite till now is San Gemignano in Italy, Barcelona in Spain, Dinant, Gent and Bruges in Belgium, Stockholm in Sweden, Taipei in Taiwan, Hong Kong especially for dimsums, Keukenhof and Amsterdam in Netherlands, Budapest in Hungary, Prague in Czech, Paris in France and many more. These were with colleagues or solo.

What I love about solo travel is the chance of self-discovery, introspection, and problem solving that you do alone. Your successes are yours and equally mistakes too. That gives you immense confidence and you get to become self-aware. You don’t get a shoulder to relax of course, however you don’t get one to blame as well. It allows to explore in your own terms and it’s empowering. For me, I braved a lot of fears I had a d this is freeing! I saw a new me after so many solo travels. One must do at least a couple. My next wish is to do solo travelling in India.

Q. Please share your experience with different brands you have worked with?

I get the privilege of associating myself and collaborating with many brands. I consciously choose these brands keeping in mind my goal of a sustainable lifestyle and fashion. The association ranges from sarees, blouses, other garments, accessories, even brands with kids’ products. Association also happens with various photographers and content creators. Luckily, I have never had sour experiences with any, rather we have forged great lasting bonds. The brands want to sell their products however with a purpose behind, a story associated and that’s where we come in the picture. We develop these stories by understanding the brands’ vision and become the tete-a-tete storytellers.

Q. There’s a lot of shoddy people on social media who either try to discredit others or stalk them. How do you deal with such people or negativity in general? Does it bog you down or affect your mental peace?

Once I removed 3500 followers from my account. It took my weekend away and at the end of this exercise, I wondered was it necessary. Shoddy people exist and will never cease to exist whatever measure you take. That was a big learning for me. Now I just let it be unless the person is showing vulgarity or nudity or not following the Instagram policies. I report such accounts and block them. We have a group in Instagram, consisting of like-minded ladies wherein we DM in the group – profiles of shoddy people and all of us block these. It’s done daily and is out step to maintain the dignity of the platform. There are many ghost followers and bots. This I realised in my elimination/blocking exercise. However difficult to identify and so I don’t break my head in investigating such profiles.

Q. “Social media and Influencers creates a fake world and it is affecting the youth in a wrong way” – is this a myth or there’s truth behind it? Your thoughts?

Social media perils affect both physical and mental health and it’s not uncommon. We have seen, known and probably experienced – FOMO, cyberbullying, depression, anxiety, body shaming, unrealistic expectations, and the list continues. These are the issue with us millennials and we will have to fight these with constant awareness build-up and monitoring. Parents play a pivotal role in this and so does teachers, friends and family. Now thinking of Influencers, they are real people and are looked up to for the reality they emulate, as opposed to glamorous ads which creates a fake expectation. I would this say the statement isn’t true and is a myth. Influencers constantly focus on resonating with the audience and being authentic. If this isn’t done, sustainability isn’t guaranteed. We are vulnerable people, yet we are smart. So, you see, the fake curtain has risen, and we show our true self.

Another way to look at your statement is based on perception. In today’s time, perception is a reality and if a person perceives social media that way, you wouldn’t able to engage in a healthy meaningful debate. The youth have had bad influences even before the advent of social media, just that with latter, perils are in your hand if you wish to see it that way. Therefore, guiding the youth and facilitating such discussions is important with them to problem-solve.

Q. What other activities are you a part of apart from your job and as an Influencer? What are your hobbies?

As an influencer, I am trying to connect with people on the revival of sarees and lost weaves, sharing the knowledge I get on weaves, the sustainable choices I make, the upcycling or recycling or reusing I do in my daily life, my daily thoughts and connecting to people on raising awareness for mental health. Mental health topics are a taboo in our society and people do not wish to share anything. Going to a physician is spoken aloud while going to a psychiatrist is a hush-hush affair. Why? I have been treated for dysthymia from 2016 and I have spoken about it. It’s ok to be mentally ill as it’s ok to have a fever. This is something I am planning to speak out much louder.

I have a myriad of hobbies. Sketching being my most favourite, reading motivational books and mythology, learning about history and geography, travelling, making DIY projects, upcycling home things, baking are some hobbies I love to pursue. Dancing is a passion as well. Listening to podcasts and working out are more recent hobbies, a year old I would say. I keep exploring new things and develop likings to easy as well as challenging ones, depending on the situation around me. My hobbies are dependent on the zone of influence and zone of control. I may get influenced by a lot of things, however, on examining the zone of control, I deprioritize a lot of things.

Travelling I have spoken about earlier at length, is a hobby. If I’m not physically traveling, I have the unique ability to transcend myself to a location of choice and enjoying. This helps me beat stress and is my self-soothing mechanism.

Q. Can becoming an Influencer be taken up as a profession for future generations? How to not get lost amongst the masses? Any tips?

First, we have to understand what an influencer is. In simple terms, an influencer is an individual who has the power to affect the purchase decisions of others because of his/her authority, knowledge, position or relationship with his/her audience. And Instagram is a current and future marketplace. In this marketplace, influencers are not just marketing tools or trend creators but are social media assets who help create an authentic and active relationship with followers which the brands can leverage on.

Having said that there are several categories of influencers – celebrities, thought leaders, bloggers, vloggers, and people like us, micro-influencers / nano influencers who are everyday people, known for their niche knowledge. And now Micro/Nano influencers are becoming more common, and more famous. There are people who have become as well-known as traditional celebrities, and this has risen from virtual obscurity. I would say, these influencers are the influencers of the future and say that it can be taken as a profession. To prevent getting lost in the vast ocean of influencers, it is important to identify the niche market of which you want to gain knowledge and work on. And it is this niche area which will elevate you to become genuine influencers. Your passion should lead to your paycheck. I would say, go for it!

Q. What future plans do you hold for your page?

I wish to create good content so that people can relate to me and share experiences. We grow with experience, not with age, isn’t it? I am working on a Durga Puja look book with sustainable choices and next up is mental health awareness series. I would go with the flow and not aim at growing the number of people but growing the network with like-minded people. My life is unplanned, always has been. So, keep watching out for what’s next with saree_nari.

Q. Lastly, any word for our blog? Thank you for your time!

I love your blog. For me, happy content is what I look for and you give that. Your content is well-curated and inspiring. It’s a great work you are going to pooling amazing work of different bloggers and that’s commendable collaboration. Certainly not easy, so kudos to the work done by your team. All I can say is good luck with every endeavour you are taking and keep creating amazing content.

Thank you Jayasmita Didi, for taking out time to talk to us, and having such a wonderful and heart-to-heart conversation. We look forward to your continuously bringing more positivity and sunshine to our feed! Happy Durga Puja!

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Welcome to Weekend Trivia. A platform where we engage in healthy discussions on Travel, lifestyle, fashion, entertainment. Find you Weekend dose of fun!

4 Comments

Jayasmita Dutta · September 28, 2019 at 9:24 pm

Thank you team Weekend Trivia for this opportunity and I m humbled with this introduction. Thank you. And great luck

    weekendtrivia · September 28, 2019 at 11:05 pm

    Thank you for your time as well 😍

Arundhati · September 29, 2019 at 11:47 am

After reading this article, I realised how vibrant you are. The way you dress up and also the way you approach life everyday is amazing. No doubt you are a saree nari who is ready to spread the colours of love and hope everyday#inspring Indain superwoman#

Saptarshi Dhar · October 3, 2019 at 8:59 am

Wow lovely insights on so many important topics which is so relevant in today’s world.. Thoroughly loved to read it and while reading was imagining your journey.. Great going .. All the Best for so many initiatives you are driving.. Feeling proud that we are schoomates.. Loved All your beautiful pictures..

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