Until recently, 25-year-old Sita Vasuniya was like any other tribal woman from Madhya Pradesh. But now the mother of a two-year-old baby boy became the face of the current digital edition of Vogue Italia – the Italian edition of the world’s premier fashion magazine - Vogue.
Wearing a Maheshwar Handloom saree that she block-printed herself, Vasuniya’s photo was reportedly shot by a Delhi-based fashion photographer at Rani Roopmati Mahal, in tourist hotspot Mandu of Dhar district.
“When I started training in February, I had never dreamt of being featured even in a local newspaper; forget about figuring in a premier fashion magazine. I still can’t believe it,” Vasuniya told a media outlet.
A resident of Panala village of Dhar district, Vasuniya is one among the 10 women, who are a part of the Dhara self-help group created as part of the Madhya Pradesh government’s ambitious 'Ek Jila Ek Utpaad' (One District One Product) scheme under the Atmanirbhar Madhya Pradesh mission.
Vasuniya, along with her some of her companions make Maheshwari and Chanderi print sarees and dress materials. They buy cotton clothes and make saris out of them.
Their printing works range from dyeing to marketing. These women also do the modeling themselves, so that this self-help group will not be at a loss.
Apparently under the Ek Jila Ek Utpaad project, three women SHGs, including Suraj and Chandani (which specialise in Bagh fabric printing) and Dhara (specialising in Dabu, Batik, block-printing, hand painting, and thread work) were created. Currently, 30 women are part of these groups.
Regarding this project, Additional Collector Dr Saloni Sidana said, “Not all women are able to do the work of garden print . This is because this print has got a GI tag. Women who want to work apart from the garden area. We have formed groups for them.”
“To make them self-sufficient, we have prepared them in such a way that they also work as models themselves. For this reason, when Sita shared her photo, she made it to the digital edition of an international fashion magazine like Vogue,” she added.
(Edited by Amrita Ghosh)