The second edition of North East India Fashion Week (NEIFW) concluded in Itanagar on Sunday with Meghalaya’s Rupert W Lynrah showcasing his Fusion Mix of Indo Traditional and Western Wear which underlined an increasingly important topic in fashion – that of sustainability.
In an era where throwaway fashions are being increasingly questioned by a public that is concerned about the impact clothes have on the environment, Lynrah said, after returning to Shillong, “Being the only representative from the state, it was my honour to showcase my traditional Khasi jainsems and a mix of traditional and western wear, and promote sustainable eco-fashion by featuring ryndia silk in the collection, which is a natural, organic and eco-friendly product.”This edition of NEIFW, which ran from August 19-21 in the Arunachal Pradesh capital, emphasised the importance of weavers by introducing their creations to the fashion world and promoting the khadi movement, something that Lynrah feels strongly about.
“We have to educate customers about the importance of sustainability, the human impact on the environment and social responsibility. The textile industry is one of the most polluted and this has to change. Fashions are shaped by demand and it is up to the consumer to choose products that support sustainability,” he said.
The Itanagar event, organised by the non-profit organisation Affluent Ray of Light (ARL), witnessed the participation of over 20 young designers and weavers from the region who celebrate traditional fabric and patterns and have successfully carved out a niche for themselves in the fashion industry.
The goal is to promote and preserve indigenous textiles in today’s world and Lynrah’s designs reflect this, as he explained: “My collection was a fusion of ethnic traditions with a modern twist. The overall experience of NEIFW was excellent. It was a fashion show where the weavers and designers came together to promote the rich handloom heritage of the North East that is so diverse in its colours and patterns. It really was a celebration of our traditions.”Lynrah has been in the fashion business for the past 12 years, but counts his near seven-year stint at retailer Splash in Dubai as a “turning point” and three years ago he took the plunge and launched his own fashion label, RwL Designs in Shillong.
Among the other designers at the three-day gala fashion event were Arita Kashyap and Rohila Engtipi from Assam; Nana Gona, Milli Indira Dangngo, Techi Yapar, Minu Mara and jewellery designer Renu Logum from Arunachal Pradesh; Lalthabiki Chawngthu from Mizoram; Gloria Ovung and Ongtiong Kichu from Nagaland; Archana Kabra from Rajasthan; and Vanshala Mishra from Bihar.
The invited weavers were drawn from several states in the region, including Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Nagaland.
Speaking on the grand success of the festival, Chief Operating Officer and founder of Affluent Ray of Light, fashion designer Yana Ngoba said, “The North East has an immense artistic potential. It is sad to see that weavers today are giving up their age-old traditions in search of jobs which pay better. With North East India Fashion Week we want to promote the weavers of the region who live in disguise but are so important for the designers across the world. At NEIFW our focus is to support weavers of the North East and brilliant emerging designers.”