How a village boy became a fashion sensation

Sarbajit Sarkar aka Neel Ranaut, a 26-year-old, became a village fashion influencer by recreating celebrity styles using natural and freebie things.

He has done hundreds of these fashion parodies ranging from Bollywood actors to Hollywood models, he has recreated every hyped-up look with his own twist. In an interview with ETimes, when asked about how he began creating such edgy content on social media, he replied, “I wanted to do something extraordinary and ground-breaking since childhood. In my village, based in Tripura, it’s common for people to follow the societal norms and study to later do a regular 9 to 5 job.”

He continued, “In 2018, I started making TikTok videos. I used to recreate advertisements like lux and Lakme ads but then after coming to Instagram I started exploring more. I come to my village from my college to create these fashion parodies and the first-ever fashion parody that influenced me was Deepika Padukone’s green dress (Grazia Millennial Awards 2019 puffy lime-green dress) that was being trolled all over the internet. I used banana leaves for the outfit and made my first internet-breaking fashion parody. Then my journey on social media began as I started to recreate more celebrity styles online by using natural, sustainable, at-home things.”

In 2020, Neel Ranaut who’s also apparently a big fan of Kangana Ranaut found his first-ever inspiration for his fashion parody journey from Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla, the Indian extravagantly eclectic fashion designers. He said, “I was not always confident about this concept and my creations. I was afraid to face prejudices and criticism. In the beginning, my family also did not support me but in 2020, Sandeep Khosla sir complimented me on one of my creations and that not only inspired me but also brought me the support of my family.”
Neel has recently recreated Bella Hadid’s Cannes golden lungs look with things that are absolutely recyclable and which doesn’t cost him a dime. He recreated the golden lungs using a golden spray-painted tree branch attached to a circular jute rope. He also recreated Zendaya’s 2019 Lancôme, red ruffles look using natural red flowers, and his mother’s petticoat. He thought why shouldn’t he use things which are already available at his house to create these looks. He looked for things that can be recycled or which are costless, basically easily available materials like leaves, flowers, his grandma’s sari, his mother’s petticoat, and father’s socks, t-shirts, he looks for literally anything to create his fashion parody.

Even though this village fashion influencer is determined and relentless with his impeccable ideas and creations, there are still people who look down upon him. He said, “My family started supporting me in 2020 but not the people from my village. They say that I have no future and I am only bringing shame to mine as well as their names. My village also has people who are primitive and narrow-minded and who wanted me to pursue “normal” jobs which are more acceptable in this society. My villagers have never respected my work but I don’t let them destroy my willpower or shake up my focus.”

He continued, “people will wear what they desire, it’s not necessary that everyone will like my work but it shouldn’t stop me from expressing my true self.”

People don’t want to understand extraordinary things easily in our world. Doing something out of the norms is seen as abnormal or “crazy” by a very huge proportion of our population. There are going to be people all around this universe ready to bring you down, but all you need is to be confident in who you are and what you want to become.

He concluded by saying that he wants to inspire people to follow their passion. He said, “I want people to think that if a village boy can do this, so why can’t I.”
By Navya Mittal

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