Last Saturday at The Stadel, Calcutta saw a scene like never before – CalBunka! ‘Bunka’ literally means Culture in Japanese, thus it is a place to enjoy the culture of the ‘Cal’cutta. It is a night flea market infused with a night club scene. It had everything from good food, amazing fashion brands, beautiful paintings, artefacts, to hookah gatherings, liquor stalls and amazing live music by DJ Leon & U-gain. They had something for everyone at any age, like the active sports stall, to the magician man, caricature, Mehendi and even strung a nostalgia cord with the shoot-ballons stall. Most importantly, with so much happening, CalBunka with the help of Paramita Saha was responsible for making this event an eco-friendly zone and spreading awareness! “Be the change you want to see in the world”
Let me take you through some of my handpicked favourite stalls out there. I discovered some fabulous brands that I had no idea it existed in the city. The first in line is Micronesium – a sustainable Menswear & Womenswear fashion brand, it emerged as a design reaction against the world of mass production. The designer duo Neil Robinson & Aloke Kumar founded the brand 3 years ago, and they are determined to produce sustainable and upcycled garments through, organic fabrics, Herbal Colours, chemical free clothing and couture craftsmanship. Not only that, they also teach kids in a small batch, sustainable fashion & interior designing in their Kolkata studio. As the saying goes, practice what your preach & preach what your practice – Micronesium is a pure example of that.
Second in line, is Wabi Sabi – a retail outlet cum Cafeteria. As their Facebook page says “wabi” is simplicity, whether elegant or rustic; “sabi” means the beauty of age and wear. Its philosophy is about finding beauty in imperfection in our day to day life, be it food & beverages, apparels, jewellery, handicrafts, health supplements, ceramics, art, etc. I got introduced to the idea by Falguni Bhatt Sanghvi, the director, ceramist, and sculptor of Wabi Sabi at the venue. Apart from some really amazing ceramic cutleries, they also had some quirky badges and paper mesh earrings (how cool are those in the picture).
Next is Bling for Change – the founder, designer & social activist Pranadhika Singha Burman started to create these rainbow pieces of jewellery as a protest against the 377 IPC act. But her hobby soon turned into a full-fledged brand for a cause! The best part about these handmade jewelleries, they are completely made with ‘lead-free’ metals. So feel free to wear it forever. She also launched her supernatural, hand-made spa line products, which are surprisingly very affordable, starting from a crazy Rs 150 (offer valid till stock lasts).
WoodGeek was the favorite stall among the most. As their Facebook page says, “We are geeks with a passion for all things wooden”. We absolutely love the texture and the warmth of wood grain! Their best selling product is the wooden sunglasses with an option to carve your names on the temple. Other cool stuff includes bow ties, phone covers, notepads, mirrors, wooden posters and truly lives up to their geekiness with their very popular wooden carved hogwart’s graduation and acceptance letters.
There were many other fabulous fashion brands like Crochita, Zaahra’s, Kultprit, abjini, etc. While doing my rounds, my eyes got attracted to this abstract black and white painting from the stall called Utify. Utsah Lama – the Painter and the owner told me her story of how she came up with this brand, and it was surprising to know how similar it was from me. She also quit her full-time paying job to take her hobby to a profession with the support and love from her husband. She also does customize decor art. Most of these brands were curated by Latasita – the house of upcycled fashion. Read here to know more about LataSita.
There was one woman, who stole the entire show single-handed with her yummylicious Malaysian inspired home cooked food – #NomNom. Ipsita Chakraborty was trying out her hands for the first time feeding strangers after a successful story with friends & family. She along with her sister and business partner Namrata Chakraborty wanted to check the response before their big plans of getting into the serious business. She was completely sold out by the end of the night with people doing triple rounds. One such stall which was a hit with the youngsters was LoveThyself with their mini golf course, soft arch dart and tether ball the popular among the most.
As I love dancing and getting into the groove, I found myself going in and out of the glass room and letting it loose with Dj Leon & Ugain on the console. It is fun to have so many options! Lots of people just came in with the expectation to only check out the event and leave in a bit, only to find themselves after 4 hours having a gala time!
Did you miss the event? Were you out-of-town? Weren’t aware of it? Don’t worry… the second edition of CalBunka is coming next Saturday on 10th June! You will be at a loss if you miss this eventful night market!