Meet Meera Dureja, Designer Births Art From Mental Health Struggles

Meera Dureja's creation, Banjaaran Studio, emerged from her desire to put her mental health struggles on a canvas. With their quirky designs and whimsical patterns, Dureja's designs represent the bizarre complexities of her mind.

Tanya Savkoor
New Update
meera dureja art therapy interview

In the world of art, human experiences and imagination often collaborate to imitate intangible emotions in a tangible form. For Meera Dureja, the desire to articulate her personal struggles on a canvas was what gave way to her brainchild, Banjaaran Studio. "Anger, anxiety, intuition, grief— each has been a catalyst, urging me to sit down and create with an unmatched vulnerability and honesty," the fashion designer-entrepreneur shared with SheThePeople in an interview. Her mental health hurdles and personal experiences have been an integral part of her artistry.


Banjaaran's first collection 'Mad Mob' was birthed from the bizarre complexities of her mind during the COVID lockdown in 2020. It features maximalist designs and whimsical patterns that reveal a sense of comfort in chaos. The sustainable footwear brand, which was co-founded with Dureja's brother, Karanveer, is all about the expression of intriguing creativity stemming from havoc.

Dureja's Relationship With Art

Since childhood, Meera Dureja has had a passion for putting her imagination on a canvas. Her artistic journey began even before she could read and write. "It was my mother's keen eye that spotted my affinity for art, and her unwavering dedication nurtured this flame within me. One treasured memory she often recounts is from when I was 5, where instead of jotting down words during dictations, I first drew the images before spelling them out," Dureja narrated.

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Soon art became a trusted confidante to whom she could spill all the secrets kept concealed in her mind. She describes art as "a steadfast refuge where I've poured my heart and soul, nurturing a bond that defines my very being." This intimacy with art is what propelled her to pursue a career in design.

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Art For Activism

Not only is Faridabad-based Dureja a designer and entrepreneur, but she is also an educationalist and activist. Once she recognised the therapeutic power of art, she embarked on the mission to use it as a means of helping others in society. She has worked as an art teacher for over four years, including a stint in teaching women inmates in Indian jails.

Dureja recalled her experience facilitating the women at Tihar jail. "The women I worked with utilised their design classes not just as a creative outlet but as a form of therapy, channelling their intense emotions into their artwork. It was remarkable to see how they were able to find solace, strength, and a sense of belonging through artistic expression. Art has the incredible capacity to evoke empathy, spark conversations, and inspire change, and it's this belief that propels me to use it as a tool for empowerment within our community."

She has also been a visiting faculty at the prestigious design school, Pearl Academy, the same institute where she earned her degree in fashion and apparel design.

How Art Helps Communities

Viewing the world through a sensitive artistic lens came naturally to Dureja, who emphasises the need to empower the local artisans of India. Along her activism journey, she has also conducted extensive workshops to promote various artisan communities in rural areas and quaint gullies of India.


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Touching on the current fashion landscape of India, Dureja described the blend of age-old expertise and technological advancements.

The Indian fashion landscape today is a captivating amalgamation of innovation fueled by technology, a celebration of traditional craftsmanship, entrepreneurial vigour, the pervasive influence of social media, and an unwavering reverence for heritage. This dynamic fusion continuously reshapes and elevates the industry on a global scale.

Further, she described the necessity to elevate meticulous, slow artistry. She shared, "Handloom, embroidery, and artisanal techniques retain a distinct position in Indian fashion. Initiatives aimed at promoting these crafts not only safeguard cultural heritage but also establish sustainable livelihoods for artisans, ensuring the perpetuation of their artistry in a competitive market."

Meera Dureja has been an advocate for supporting local craftsmen, inculcating the same doctrine in her business endeavour. Banjaaran favours slow fashion rooted in historical influence, heritage craftsmanship, and diverse cultures. Dureja is particular about her work being an implementation of tested artistry that has been passed down for generations.


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