Kolkata: The hand embroidery of Gujarat is extremely varied, rich and versatile and has the potential to create magic, a riot of colours on a global scale. Leveraging their skills, Couture Mahamaya brainchild of Kuheli Ray Bhattacharya support more than 50 artisans from the villages of Padhdhar, Bhachau,Anjar, Lakhpat, Dhaneti, Dhori, Jikadi,Bhujod,Kutch, Gujarat by providing them continuous remunerative employment, besides training them to understand the emerging trends ,preserve and improve their skills and exposing them to exhibitions. Kuheli Ray Bhattacharya adds, “Over a longer horizon, we support them to pursue literacy, vocational training, facilitate their independence and fight against social injustice and exploitation.” Additionally, she is also involved in an initiative which provided academic support to close to 250 underprivileged children in Padhdhar Village, Bhuj, Kutch.
Recently a range of unique, hand embroidered saris (takes 4-12 months to take shape), Dhotis, Kurtas, Kurtis, Skirts, Stoles, Gowns was launched
A fashion designer from National Institute of Fashion Technology (Kolkata, India, Kuheli has Participated as a Dress Designer in Fabrics Bengal- Fashion Show sponsored by NIFT in association with Government of West Bengal. She was also Selected as a task force member by West Bengal Handicrafts Development Council (MANJUSHA) and Co-opted/nominated as a Selector to the panel for deciding NATIONAL AWARDS to outstanding primary societies by the Ministry of Textiles-Weavers Service Center-Government of India. Kuheli has participated in various seminars in ethnic excellence, handlooms, handicrafts, translating tradition to modernity, forecasting designs of the future.
She was blessed with a child in 1999 and therefore took a sabbatical- kept herself busy with freelancing work and the burning desire to give birth to a social enterprise. Opportunity knocked during the Rann Utsav in 2014, when during her visit she discovered the exploitation of artisans, the formidable talent base, the lack of direction in terms of education – and all this led to the birth of Couture Mahamaya Krbs Pvt Ltd and White Desert Mahamaya.
Her debut exhibition titled”The Third Eye- Fusion in Fashion” was held at the Jamini Roy Art Gallery( ICCR, Kolkata).Kuheli is looking to reach out to rural Bengal and work on fusion of skills / designs like Baluchuri+ Kantha stitch in conjunction with Kutchhi designs –thus creating unique and exclusive offerings besides generating employment opportunities.