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    Planning to concentrate on social media to connect more people

    Ruma Devi the global fashion icon doesn’t look like a fashionista but she is the most sort after designers of the modern era. Known for her Barmer patchwork and embroidery designs she is visiting everywhere in the country to reach the artists and showcase their work at the global market through fashion shows. She feels the artist is the prime of design and they must get their credit for the work and the traditional art they save for the future generations.

    Ruma Devi a popular traditional handicraft artisan and a social activist from Barmer district, Rajasthan visited Parul Institute of Design for a talk and interaction with the fashion design and social work students. She conduct workshop on Indian Handicrafts and exhibit garments crafted by her. A fashion show was also conducted by students of PU wearing garments crafted by #RumaDevi.

    “It’s a great experience to interact with the students and answer their queries about the traditional art and use them in designing garments. They are eager to learn the art and also approached for internship at Barmer. This is a good thing as they will learn the arr after visiting there and exhibit the same here which is a step towards bridging the big gap between village and city. The students exhibit out designs as well their theirs on stage which was great to watch and good to see the traditional art displayed by today’s youth on stage,” said Ruma Devi.

    The 30-year-old school dropout recently won the 2019 fashion design prize awarded by Textile Fairs India -a platform for manufacturers and buyers. She has travelled to Germany, England, Thailand and Sri Lanka for fashion shows but her heart still lies in Barmer. Ruma was recently invited to Karamveer series of episodes of Kbc by Amitabh Bachchan. She was also awarded with the Nari SHAKTI Award by the President of India in 2018.

    The courage to break tradition, combined with her love for all things Barmeri, has put the arc lights on the award winning designer known for her desert state’s quintessential patchwork and embroidery designs. Dressed in a traditional skirt, head covered with a veil, Rajasthanl villager Ruma Devi does not look like the fashionista, but she is among the most feted designers today. She was also invited to House of Lords in UK and now get the invitation by Harvard University for lecture.

    “My aim is to see every women stands on her own feet and displays their hidden talents. Being a Goodwill Ambassador to promote tribal art I am concentrating on such tribal women who are engaging in such arts but don’t know how to come out. We are giving them the platform, displays their designs on the ramp and connect them directly to the market to make them self independent,” said Ruma Devi.

    Ruma Said she received 10 to 15 calls daily on an average about people inquire about to join her and that gives her the confidence to move further. She is also planning to concentrate on social media to connect more people. She said the designs they plan are based on recent trends, colour themes and the market. She said every women has something in special and they must work towards to bring out the same talent and become self independent and confident.

    Ruma Devi grew up in Rawsar, a hamlet in the border district of Barmer, a part of the Thar Desert. Married at 17, she moved in 2006 to her in-laws home in Mangla ki Bedi village. With no school and ample time after housework, she thought of engaged herself to her grandmother who used to stitch beautiful motifs from sheep wool on clothes. The geometrical and floral designs, inspired by nature, were prepared mostly for a trousseau or household use. She found stitching invigorating and picked up the craft quickly.

    Soon after marriage, Ruma Devi lost her first child. She then filled the vacuum in her life with embroidery. But she wanted to do more, and was soon stitching small bags and selling them. Her in-Iaws were not happy but she had the determination to do something and soon connect the others.

    Despite repeated slights by family and neighbours, she collected some money from a group of women, who could also embroidery and bought a sewing machine. Then, sometime in 2008, she gathered up enough courage and approached the Gramin Vikas Evam Chetna Sansthan (GVCS), an NGO working with rural artisans, in Barmer city and met its secretary, Vikram Singh.

    She applied Barmeri patchwork and appliqué work to her creations, along with embroidery patterns such as soof, pakka, kharak, kachcha and sindhi. With her dedication, today she has more than 22,000 women working with her earning money depending on their skills.

    Next on the agenda for her is to ensure that the artistes get the right price for their work. Just being a fashion designer, Ruma Devi said is not enough for her. “i am fighting for the rights of artisans and for my craft, which links me with my history, culture and identity,” she says with a smile.

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