Rashmi Rekha Das

Priyadarsini Das is not just another Momprenuer, but a fashion trendsetter. Her brand ‘Ecodarsini’ centres on environment friendly materials. When house moms aggressively look at doing something beyond their familial responsibilities, Priyadarsini, popularly known as the ‘Green Queen of Odisha’ has blazed her own trail in eco-fashion jewellery. 

As a young girl she learned how to make art and craft with locally available eco-friendly materials from her mother Late Kalyani Das. She went beyond and started applying the techniques to making bamboo-based eco-friendly jewellery. No one would appreciate bamboo jewellery in 1990s when gold and other precious metals were a status symbol. But without waiting for any appreciation, she continued making her own jewellery. She had never heard of terms like eco-friendly or sustainable jewellery until 2017 when her husband informed her what she has been making is eco-friendly and has got a huge demand in the market. This motivated her into expanding her creative pursuit. Thus, she started imparting training to young girls and moms on making eco-friendly jewellery, particularly in tribal and rural areas of Odisha. She got wide appreciation from across the corners. Then she started her own eco-friendly jewellery line “Ecodarsini”.  Here go excerpts from a telephonic conversation with Green Queen of Odisha… 

OTV: What is your understanding of eco-friendly fashion?

PD: Very simple! Anything that adorns you or your home without doing any harm to the environment during its entire lifecycle.

OTV: How did you get into eco-friendly Jewellery?

PD: It has come naturally to me. I was very keen for art and craft. I passionately started learning from my mother, sister, relatives and friends. As a lively observer I have seen my grand generations using different locally available raw materials for making different products. In early 1990s, when I was still a teen, I tried with bamboo branches to make earrings, and then added seeds and seashells to further beautify it. I rediscovered myself in 2017, when I was told that what I have been making is called eco-friendly jewellery. 

Bamboo Queen Priyadarsini DasBamboo Queen Priyadarsini Das

OTV: What are the problems you confront in the fashion sector today?

PD: I can say that there is only one problem in the fashion industry that is unsustainable production and consumption practices. What I do and advocate may be very small, but transparent, and no green washing. 

OTV: Can you talk about the eco-materials you use for making your jewellery line?
PD: I pioneered the use of solid bamboo for making bangles, head clips , head pins, pendants, and beads for making my jewellery line. In addition to that, I use beads made up of Neem, Bael, Karanj and Tulsi wood, and sometimes-waste wood collected from different furniture and home décor units. I also use Golden grass, terracotta, palm leaf, jute, beetle nut, Rudraksh and seeds from other locally available fruits. Sometimes to enhance the aesthetic value for certain target markets, I use oxidized materials, stone and glass beads.

Bamboo jewelleryBamboo jewellery

OTV: Do you see demand for eco-friendly jewellery in India and abroad picking up?

PD: Recently I participated in one of the exhibitions during Raja celebration organized by World Trade Centre (WTC), Bhubaneswar where I got an overwhelming response and sold about 75 per cent of my products displayed there. I also got many advance orders. The demand for eco-friendly jewellery is continuously growing with rising consciousness towards environment.

OTV: How do you see the response from corporates for your products?

PD: Yes, I have been approached by many top brands of the country to manufacture for them. But at this point in time I want to go slow and strengthen my own backyard.  

OTV: As a homemaker, how do you divide your time between your venture, family and friends?

PD: Initially, managing time was an issue for me. But where there is a will there is a way. I have a small workshop where trained girls work both full time and part-time. In the morning, after sending my son to school, I get into my business. Many things are on auto mode now with a support from my husband and son.

Bamboo jewellery on display Bamboo jewellery on display

OTV: What prospects do you see in Odisha for eco-friendly jewellery?

PD: I have already given a picture about the demand side of it. On the supply side, we have got a very rich heritage in handmade art, craft, and handloom. At the same time, we have a lot of eco-friendly resources like bamboo, wood, palm leaf, seeds, lacquer, stone, etc. This could help us in creating green business and employment opportunities in rural and tribal areas and can make Odisha a hub for eco-friendly jewellery and accessories.