20 Questions with Sabiha Akond Rupa On Love, Life and Saree.

She drapes her saree in fine folds, and in every fold, there is a character. In every motif, lies a story of struggle and freedom.Through Menka, Sabiha Akond Rupa promotes desi handloom sarees from both local and international markets. So what cultivated her love for the saree? Let’s find out through a tete-a-tete with the craft queen.

Among various types of attires for women, what makes saree so special?
There’s something comfortable and charming when you drape yourself in a saree.

What is the story behind your latest collection Epiphanies?
Epiphanies consist of eight designs that represent solitude, struggles, overcoming fear and embracing freedom.

How would you define your relationship with the saree?
Saree brings me solace and serenity.

Describe your go-to saree look in one sentence.
I love pairing my sarees with silver jewellery.

Does nature inspire you in any way while designing a collection?
The six seasons of Bangladesh have thoroughly inspired my collections.

Which saree from the collection has a special place in your heart?
My favourite is January (blue saree with yellow paar)

Describe Menka using three words
Love, life and art.

‘Head or heart?’ Which of the two do you follow when crafting a Menka original?
Heart of course.

What’s the first thing you notice in a saree?
The first thing I notice in a saree is the fabric

What’s the first thing you notice in a person?
Their eyes.

What is your take on romance?
Romance is all about having peace in your heart. For me, the feeling should be similar to the feeling of witnessing the Annapurna Mountain range(it feels like heaven!).

What’s the most rewarding factor that you cherish the most as a designer?
When people appreciate my work, and when they say how much they love Menka, I feel accomplished.

What do you think is a major saree faux pas that women should avoid?
Over accessorising with saree is a complete no-no. Keep it simple, because less is more!

Heels or flats?
Flats are super comfortable, especially with sarees.

Makeup or not?
I prefer the no-makeup look. A little bit of kajal, mascara and lipstick can go a long way.

What kind of accessories complement sarees the most?
It depends on what type of saree you’re wearing, and where you’re going. For me, it has always been ethnic statements and sometimes silver jewellery.

Is there anything that you secretly don’t like about the saree?
The chumki and shiny designs that women go crazy for! I prefer sarees that are simple.

What should one keep in mind while choosing a saree for a particular season?
Every season is different. Hence, one should consider the level of comfort in choosing a saree.

Other than cotton, what fabric do you prefer to wear and why?
Other than cotton, I love the elegance of Rajshahi silk. On special occasions, I sometimes wear desi muslin as well.

Wearing a saree to a workplace, while braving the Dhaka traffic- doesn’t sound very tempting. What’s your take on that?
Well, I wear sarees almost every other day. Be it Dhaka traffic, heavy rain, or dusty roads, nothing stops me from draping a saree.