Itanagar: Hand-woven fabrics with natural colours, angular designs and floral patterns of the northeast tribes will take centrestage at the upcoming second edition of the North East India Fashion Week (NEIFW) in the Arunachal Pradesh capital.
With a total of 22 ramp shows, the attendees, who are expected to turn up in fusion wear at the three-day gala starting Friday, will get to see creations by weavers of Arunachal Pradesh, Meitei weavers from Manipur, weaver Dimbeswary Kherkatary from Assam, fashion designers Lalthabiki Chawngthu (Mizoram), Ongtiong Kichu (Nagaland) and Rupert W. Lynrah (Meghalaya), among others.
Designer Yana Ngoba Chakpu, who hails from Arunachal Pradesh, is hosting the event.
“I am one of the designers who works with weavers from all the northeastern states. There are only few active weavers. So to encourage them and work with them, we met weavers of Meghalaya, Mizoram and other northeast states,” Chakpu told IANS.
NEIFW, which gives weavers and designers from the region a platform to showcase their creations, will also see an exhibition at the venue — the Multipurpose Culture Centre — in the Arunachal capital.
“People generally get to see influence from the West at fashion weeks in India. NEIFW, on the other hand, is all about northeast Indian tribal fabrics,” said the designer, who also showcased her creations at the London Fashion Week’s off-schedule Fashions Finest show last year.
What about the models?
“The models are also from the northeast. There aren’t too many northeast models who have made a mark in the fashion industry nationally. So, we need to encourage them. They aren’t too tall, but modelling isn’t just about height or looks.
“We designers need a person who has the right attitude and can carry off the clothes well on the stage. The focus should be on our clothes and not just their faces,” Chakpu said.
“Life of Pi” actor Adil Hussain, who hails from Assam, will be one of the showstoppers at the fashion week, which will see around 40 participants.
“He is also the brand ambassador of NEIFW. Former Mr. India International contestant Opang Jamir from Nagaland will also be a showstopper. He has choreographed the shows as well,” said the designer.
While the event is all about celebrating the work of weavers and designers from the northeast region, didn’t Chakpu think of pushing the fashion week to some other date considering the demise of the former Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Kalikho Pul?
“There are many weavers from different states and not just from Arunachal Pradesh. They had already booked their tickets and worked on their collections. So, we didn’t want to postpone the event.
“We are doing it in association with the Arunachal Pradesh government. Our Chief Minister, Pema Khandu, is happy with our work. They wanted us to postpone the date to help us in a bigger way, but we can’t suddenly change the date. Our former CM always wanted us to do well. I am sure his soul will be happy too,” she said.
(The writer’s trip to Itanagar is at the invitation of the fashion week’s organisers. Natalia Ningthoujam can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org .)
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