Women in Bengal

Photography/ Styling

Dec 2018- April 2019

Mentor: Swarup Dutta
Models: Anushree Acharya, Paramita Barua, Radhika Kedia, Siddhi Kankaria

- Awarded the Best Graduation Project in the department of Fashion Communication among all 15 centres of National Institute of Fashion Technology, India. 

- Exhibited in ‘The Next Great Fashion Image Makers’ exhibition in PhotoVogue Festival 2022, Milan, IT.

- Exhibited in the Art Exhibit, The India Story, Kolkata, IND.

This project is an attempt to use fashion as commentary to understand the evolution of social identity of an upper caste Bengali Hindu woman, specifically the bhadramahila in the mid nineteenth century and early twentieth century. When the British took control over Bengal, they had a poor opinion of the role of women in the society. This forced the bhadralok to encourage their women to play a bigger role in the society, which included greater physical freedom, access to education and non domestic work. The social contact between the ruler and the ruled encouraged revaluation of societal norms. Hence, the bhadramahila became a model, as an attempt to amalgamate virtues of new and old, on traditional Hindu womanly qualities, mixed with modern features of the Victorian image of a  perfect lady. This project traces this evolution from the purdah system to getting education to being a helpmeet to embodying all the values to become a perfect woman to going out more often out of their houses to rally for freedom.

*This project is a work in progress. Further development will incorporate wider caste inclusivity.
Fig 1: Woman as helpmeet
Fig 2: Woman during the Swadeshi Movement
Fig 3: Woman during the Swadeshi Movement

Fig 4: An educated woman

Fig 5: An educated woman

Fig 6: New woman or ‘Nabina’
Fig.7: Carte de visites

Fig 8: Woman during the purdah system
Fig 9:  An educated woman

Fig 10: Woman as helpmeet
Fig 11: Woman as helpmeet
Fig 12: New woman or ‘Nabina’
Fig 13: New woman or ‘Nabina’
Fig 4: Women during Swadeshi Movement