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Bamboo goes hip & trendy
- Designer turns out waistcoats from indigenous green gold

Guwahati, Dec. 18: Assam-born fashion designer Dhiraj Deka is spinning yarns all right, but — hold your breath — from commonplace bamboo.

The 30-year-old designer launched his “bamboo designerwear” at the inaugural show of the Assam Fashion Week in Guwahati last night, showcasing the potential of the plant found abundantly in the state and the region.

“The technology is not new. But bamboo as cloth has never been experimented with in the region. Clothes made of bamboo can be useful apart from being trendy since it has anti-bacterial qualities,” Deka told The Telegraph today.

Deka’s bamboo clothes — women’s waistcoats — wowed the packed gathering at ITA, Machkhowa, more because of the innovation than anything else.

Deka, who hails from Tihu in Nalbari district, studied designing at a fashion institute in Delhi before working in two garment export firms, in Gurgaon and Mumbai. However, an intense desire to work in and for his home state brought him back to Assam.

“For the past two years, I have been working with traditional handloom fabric of the Northeast and trying to give it a more modern look,” he said.

He said the technology for making fabric from bamboo — developed by China — is similar to making paper from bamboo. “Nearly half of the country’s bamboo is found in the region. Bamboo fabric turns out to be cheap besides having other exceptional qualities,” he added.

Deka said bamboo cloth was very soft, smooth, cost effective and eco-friendly.

“Bamboo fabric has a natural softness, like silk, but the best part is that it is less expensive and longer lasting. It is also non-irritating and can be of great help to people with sensitive skin. The best feature is that it is naturally anti-bacterial and anti-fungal, because of an agent found in plants called bamboo kun. It also works as a deodorant and kills odour-producing bacteria.”

He said the technology for producing cloth from bamboo was yet to be available in the country.

A government official in the industries department said talks were on with Chinese firms for technology transfer. “It is still at the preliminary stage but we are hopeful that we will be able to bring the technology to the state. It could be a big boost to the bamboo industry and help in the growth of a garment industry,” the official added.

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