Of course, when we think of fashion, we think of designers, runways, and extremely beautiful but also slightly daunting clothes that seem like they belong to another world altogether. 

But it is always refreshing to be able to relate to what we see on the runway. This usually happens when we see influencers recreate high-end looks in their own way, where they make the fashion easier to connect with. One such influencer doing this is Sarbajit Sarkar from Tripura. 

Sarbajit Sarkar
Source: Instagram

Sarbajit's Instagram bio has the hashtag #VillageFashionInfluencer in it, this is one term that he identifies with. And now, most of the internet also knows him by it. His Instagram name is Neel Ranaut, inspired by his love and admiration for the colour blue and Kangana Ranaut. And one thing about Sarbajit is, he makes superb recreations of celebrity looks. In fact, his creativity even landed him an invitation to walk the ramp for Abu Jani Sandeep Khosla! 

Sarbajit Sarkar AKA Neel Ranaut began his content creation journey with TikTok, and slowly moved onto dominating Instagram. He recreates celebrity looks from locally sourced clothes and materials. So, that can be anything from taking clothes from his mother's closet to making a beautiful gown using banana leaves and flowers. And although he graduated with a BA in LLB, his heart was always in fashion. 

In conversation with ScoopWhoop, Sarbajit talks about his passion for creating the wonderful costumes he creates, the challenges he faced on this journey and much more. 

Sarbajit began filming videos back in 2018. He used to, at first, film videos where he recreated famous advertisements. 

Initially, back in 2018 I used to recreate a lot of looks from ads and upload them on TikTok. Advertisements of make-up brands such as Lakme, etc (that's the one that went viral in fact). Later, I made an account on Instagram and began uploading there. One fine day, I saw that an outfit that Deepika Padukone wore was being trolled. I decided to recreate that outfit using banana leaves and post it online. That post received a lot of compliments and from that point onwards I began recreating these looks on a regular basis. 

                    - Sarbajit Sarkar

He mentions how the people around him were very critical of his choices. So much so that he knew he had to move out of his house for his peace of mind, even if that was by pursuing a degree unrelated to fashion. 

A lot of people judge me for what I am doing. But something I feel deeply hurt over is that whenever the kids in my neighbourhood tried to help me while I was creating the costumes, teachers and well-educated adults would tell them to stop hanging around me. They would tell them that I was a bad influence, so they should stay away from me.  

                    - Sarbajit Sarkar

Sarbajit says that initially his family was quite unaccepting of the kind of content and costumes he was making, but as time went on, they began understanding that this is his passion, and it makes him happy. 

My mother and badi maa have been very supportive of me. Even though initially even they didn't like what I was doing, slowly they softened and began helping me. So have my friends Ria and Barnali. They've always helped keep my morale high and told me to ignore anyone who throws hate my way. 

                    - Sarbajit Sarkar

The influencer admits that he has no plans regarding this passion of his. But, he loves fashion so much that he is simply looking forward to gaining different kinds of experiences in the fashion world. Whether that is modelling, designing or anything else! 

I've never planned my future. But if you were to ask me where I find fashion to be the most exciting, I would say the Met Gala and the Cannes Film Festival. I think the world witnesses the most interesting fashion in these spaces. But, I love anything and everything to do with fashion. I would love to experience working in the fashion industry in more ways than one. Whether that is by modelling or designing. 

                    - Sarbajit Sarkar

In terms of the challenges that the influencer has faced while making his costumes, his account of it really shows how much he has mastered his own work and talent. 

Many looks are quite easy to source clothes etc. for. But, certain recreations require me to be really quick in making the garment and then shooting the look. Because when it comes to making a costume out of natural materials such as leaves or flowers, you've to make it before they start wilting. This requires some speed on my part. 

                    - Sarbajit Sarkar

Sarbajit had the nicest things to say about his experience of walking the runway for Abu Jani Sandeep Khosla. I could hear him constantly smiling through the phone as he talked about it. 

I was treated with utmost respect and care while I was there. They'd booked a grand hotel room for my comfort, and made sure I liked the room I was in. For the show, they asked me whether I was okay with walking in heels, if not, I was told I can walk the runway in flats. But I decided to walk in heels and practised in my hotel room to perfect my walk. I thought it was a new experience worth diving into, so why not? Backstage everyone was extremely kind to me. Today, the reason I am so driven to keep creating my costumes is that Abu Jani and Sandeep sir motivated me and complimented my work so much! 

                    - Sarbajit Sarkar

Sarbajit has truly taken ownership of the word style and therefore, his own life. The fact that he continued doing all this without letting the judgment he was constantly under stop him, is worth all the applause and salutes in the world! 

All images are from the Instagram account of Neel Ranaut. You can follow Neel Ranaut on Instagram for more of his work.