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Mekhela chador, ready to wear
- Only three hooks to lock, says designer Binita Dutta

Jan. 22: There is a way out for girls who find it difficult to wear traditional and colourful Assamese mekhela chador on festivals like Saraswati Puja and Rongali Bihu.

Keeping an eye on the coming Saraswati Puja — a day when young girls opt for the traditional dress, city-based designer Binita Dutta today unveiled “readymade” mekhela chador to make it easier for the girls and women who want to look their best attired in the traditional outfit.

Mekhela is the long skirt and the upper apparel is known as chador or riha. The red coloured pattern at the end of the chador is graceful and symbolic. The pari (border) of mekhela or riha also has designs.

“With the changing times Assamese fashion has undergone a sea change. Ethnic wear has become limited to festivals and special occasions only. So women who mostly wear salwar kameez, jeans and skirts find it very difficult to properly wear traditional outfits like a mekhela chador. A woman will not be able to do justice to the beauty of mekhela chador if she cannot wear it properly,” Dutta said at the unveiling function at Guwahati Press Club.

According to Dutta, the readymade mekhela chador has been designed in a way that a girl can wear the outfit within a minute. Even two to three-year-olds can wear the mekhela without anyone’s help. “There is a single hook in the mekhela and two in the chador. In order to wear the outfit one will have to lock the hooks and it is done,” she said.

Dutta said another objective of launching the readymade mekhela chador is to promote the traditional outfit not only among the Assamese people but also among others.

“Many women from other parts of the country want to wear the dress but cannot handle it. Last year I met many foreigners who were fascinated by the outfit,” she said.

Dutta has submitted an application with the National Innovation Foundation for registration of the traditional outfit designed by her.

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