From being the first store in Pune to have a wide array of pure natural fabrics, Banjaras has come a long way
The Journey
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1992 – 1997  Block prints & bandhani from Gujarat were the first offering; 4 staff members helped run the store on FC Road

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Compliments from friends and patrons of Neeta’s salon for her sense of style, turned into serious requests to source fabric for them. In 1992, with a few thousand borrowed rupees, Banjaras began from a 60 sq ft attic. The initial years were tough and Neeta and her tiny team went up a steep learning curve.

1997 – 2002 An intense period of exploration; around 150 members of the crafts community across 5 states were now involved

With-Nidhi-&-Neel-in-front-of-a-handloom-office

Girish, Neeta’s husband urged her to pursue her quest for natural fabrics. Once he came on board, after quitting his job with an MNC, the couple traveled extensively, young kids in tow. For them, the exposure to diverse sub cultures, living conditions, landscapes and cuisines, has been invaluable.

2002 – 2007 Mangalgiri, Kalamkari, Ajrakh, Silks were added to the fabric range; around 350 members of the crafts community became involved

Pret-Soloz

With two outlets in Aundh with one dedicated to fabric, Banjaras launched its line “Pret Soloz”- for women, men and kids. Due to clients’ demands, a tailoring unit came into existence. The line “Jussformen” carried shirts and kurtas for men. Banjaras dupattas were hugely appreciated by patrons.

2007 – 2012 Jaquards, Khand were added to the range; West Bengal + Punjab and other regions explored; cross regional development gathered momentum

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In 2009, the store moved location. Jewellery & Accessories were part of the offering now. BNJ Assembled, Concept Sarees had evolved. A fledgling design team was in place. The spirit of Team Banjaras shone when they proceeded with their exhibition of 10 states as planned, within 2 days of facing tremendous losses during flash floods.

2012 – now 13 states explored and counting; more than 600 members of the crafts community involved; 13 members of staff  + 13 tailors

2015-store-pic

The store had moved to its current location. Karagir had become a separate tailoring unit mentored by Neeta. Two more fashion shows were conceptualized and organised. BNJ Intense grew into Alaya, and since 2012 there have been annual editions. Many more exciting regions beckon and it seems that there is still so much to do.

SMILESTONES

1999 

Bhanu Athaiya inaugurates “Sanskriti”, the art gallery which became the fabric outlet at Aundh.

2000 

Banjaras runs two outlets in Aundh

2001 

Banjaras featured in ‘FiberArts’, America’s leading natural fabric magazine.

2002 Lagaan

Oscar Awardee for Costume Design and Member of Academy, Ms. Bhanu Athaiya uses fabrics from Banjaras for Lagaan, nominated for the Oscars.

2003

Femina invites Banjaras to do a full length photoshoot with model Mugdha Godse.

2008 

Launch of BNJ Intense, a line of intricately created dupattas

2010 

A unique fashion event, Adwita had working professionals walking on the ramp, showcasing the ensemble possibilities of natural fabrics.

2011 

After a grueling selection process, the store was selected to participate in the presitgious Kala Ghoda Art Festival in Mumbai.

2011 France

The first exhibition foray abroad – in France at Paris, Chatillon, Blaneau