Take the most snobbish of the designers in the world, the creators of fashion, the curators of brand names people pay in millions for; you’d imagine them to be all fussy and domineering. Very particular about their instructions and throwing a tantrum at the drop of a hat, these so-called ‘creators of art’ have a reputation of being overelaborate. But, there’s these interesting lot of people in front of whom the best of the designers in the world have to stoop. Yes, we’re talking about the Tailors. The dexterous craftsmen who actually create the clothing that is up on display. The men whom even the wealthiest call ‘Master’!
Now tailors have a long history all over the world and even today with the advent of the finest of machinery, tailors have held their position. Coming to the tailors in Kolkata, these are a bunch of people that have been lauded for their craftsmanship right from the days of the Raaj. Surprised? Well there are countless evidence of it. For instance, tailors are also known as Ostagors and there are numerous streets in Kolkata named after Ostagors. Eg Miyajan Ostagar Lane near Park Circus.
And it’s not just in the past that tailors in Kolkata received their well-deserved respect, but even today they are much sought after and their demand goes through the roof every time there is a festival round the corner. And Eid – ul- Fitr being round the corner, the demand for tailors of both male and female garments is at an all-time high. We went around!
The holy month of Ramadan is in full swing and the countdown to Eid – ul – Fitr has begun. Festivity is in the air & the markets and malls are abuzz with shoppers rushing for new clothes, without which any festival is incomplete. A large number of make-shift shops have sprung up around markets and local areas, to cater to the huge rush of people at this time of the year. People are thronging in large numbers, some are last-minute shoppers while others are purchasing the little odds-and-ends needed to look their dazzling best!
Despite a huge variety of ready-made options, tailors do not face a dearth of customers in the line- up to Eid – ul- Fitr. Almost all tailors in Kolkata, the famous as well as the lesser known ones get an exceptional rush of customers ahead of Eid – ul- Fitr . Tailors have their hands full during Ramadan, which is one of the most stressful yet profitable times of the year for them. As Eid approaches, they have to stretch the day and burn the midnight oil, to meet deadlines. Many close orders by the 15th day of Ramadan so that they can work properly on the task at hand. For this, many late Kates’ orders are refused and they have to return disheartened or search for another tailor. None the less ‘a stitch in time saves nine’.
“Some regular customers, come last-minute & we can’t refuse them. I keep telling them to give their clothes in advance so that the work can be done properly. I also message & call my regular customers one and a half month before Eid – ul- Fitr, asking them to book their orders so as to avoid the pressure at the end, but we always land up with some people coming even one week prior to Eid and expecting us to accept their order,” said Sheikh Asadullah, owner of Diamond Tailor, who had at then refused three customers in a span of fifteen minutes.
While at the tailor shop during this time, it is common to see over-worked artisans who are dealing with difficult customers that shout for small reasons, or continuously call the tailors asking to deliver their clothes on time. One can also find people who leave the tailor shop with a sad face because their order was not taken or maybe one of the many clothes were taken for stitching. One will even find customers who try their level best to convince the tailor to accept their order and do not leave until they succeed.
“We close our orders early because we can’t take extra load and not deliver on time. Adding to this, our workers need to go home to their villages before Eid – ul- Fitr. People don’t really understand our condition” said Md. Hussain of A-Z Boutique.
“I prefer tailored clothes as you get the perfect fit so even if I have to shop way ahead of time, I do so to avoid clumsy work being done on my expensive clothes. Also, finding a new tailor who can understand your demands is a big task, so I go to my regular tailor way in advance.” said Ayesha, a college going student who likes to design her own clothes.
Gents tailors also feel the pressure at this time. It is customary for men to get at least one ‘Kurta Pyjama’ stitched because Eid is simply incomplete without this apparel. “Ladies tailors are under a lot more work load because each female gives at least two sets of clothes to be stitched whereas men are satisfied with only one stitched apparel.” chirped one worker.
“I do not refuse any customer .Per day, each worker stitches about 5-6 salwar suits, they work in shifts till late at night, most workers are even fasting at this time so it is difficult for them as well.” said Alam, the owner of the famous Ganga Jamuna tailor, who boasted that no other tailor in this city has as many workers as him.
Some tailors in Kolkata depend a lot on the huge influx of orders during the festive times to help get them through quieter times of the year when business does not really thrive.
Interestingly, while most tailors in Kolkata say that this time of the year is an absolute rush, the master of the famous French Tailor said “We get more rush than this during Durga Pujas. That is a very hectic time for us.”
Also, keeping in mind the wedding season that starts just after Eid – ul- Fitr , Tailors are hiring extra machines and workers, they are working against time, Some workers are seen adding stones to the materials while others are seen taking measurements while some others are busy sorting orders. All this hardwork just to deliver your clothes at the right time without any further hassle.
If you have not placed your order already, getting a tailor is going to be next to impossible. So good luck finding one.