Most of us know how beautiful the Northeast is. A lot of us have experienced the picturesque and pristine beauty and the rich culture of the eight states first hand. Those of you who haven't, check out NEst by Arpit Agarwal - a Guwahati-based stationary and lifestyle brand that uses local resources and cultural symbols of the Northeast in an attempt to give a glimpse of the region to the rest of India and the world.
The brand offers an amazing and one-of-a-kind collection of notebooks, journals and lifestyle products, inspired by the symbols, cultures and crafts of this unexplored paradise. Arpit Agarwal, the man behind NEst, wants to capture and explore the rich heritage of the Northeast, its diverse wildlife, flora, fauna and its colorful people and portray all these elements in his creations.
You'll find representation of several cultural symbols and themes like the Bihu dance form from Assam, Naga head gear and spears, bhut jolakia, pineapples famous in Meghalaya, tribal culture, butterflies, rural life, orchids, wildlife and lots more. Besides notebooks, they have tote bags, coasters, lapel/enamel pins, coffee mugs, utility pouches, decorative plates and frames, desk calendars and bookmarks. When it comes to jewellery, they currently sell only earrings under the sub brand Jewels.
We particularly loved the 'Kopou' earrings, named after the state flower of Assam. This orchid is an integral part of Assamese culture and is considered to be a symbol of love and fertility, which is why it is used as a hair-ornament by Assamese women during weddings or folk dance performances. You must also check out their new collection inspired by intricate tattoos of Nagaland's Konyak Tribe. These tattoos represent manifestations of their lives, be it birth, victory, transition, or status. Their jewellery pieces are all made in 925 Sterling silver and 18KT (Gold) rhodium plated with semi-precious stones.
Watch out for their unique notebook collection. We're drooling over the handmade notebooks that have Bhupen Hazarika's silhouette picture on them along with the lyrics of a couple of his songs. Also check out the notebooks depicting the masks made in Assam's Majuli Island and Manipur's Loktak Lake - fresh water lake in Northeast India and the world's only floating national park. They're stunning.
They also have a notebook collection name 'Enajori' (which means 'bond' in Assamese) created by youngsters with developmental disability at Shishu Sarothi (a centre for rehabilitation and training for multiple disability). The collection has its cover carefully curated and block printed with North-East inspired motifs.
There are a lot of items that you'll fall in love with like the bhut jolakia - inspired 'Carry Everywhere Tote' bags made in cotton canvas with lining, coasters depicting traditional Naga head gear, lapel/enamel pins showing one-horned rhino in a bamboo forest perfect to gift as a souvenir or for men who love to wear pins and the Great Hornbill-inspired utility pouches. We also loved the coffee mugs, bookmarks, desk calendars, decorative plates and frames that depict various symbols like Assam's tea gardens, village life, the famous pineapples of Meghalaya, orchids and Cham - the traditional dance of Sikkim among others.