It was a proud moment for Northeast as ‘Weaves of Arunachal Pradesh’ by ace designer Yana Ngoba took the center-stage at the Lakmé Fashion Week. Yana’s creation was showcased at the venue in an installation by Nazia Hafeez in association with Lakmé Fashion Week. Nazia Hafeez and Opang Jamir (managing director and Face for “Yana and style”) narrated a story of farm-to-fashion through the fabrics made from locally-spun thread. Celebrating rich textiles from Northeast India and the art of locally spun thread and natural colouring, the collection exudes the very concept of from-farm-to-fashion with impeccable flair.
The Northeast is famous for textile making, and it forms an integral part of the tradition-it has been rooted deeply into their society and culture from time immemorial. What’s special is that the texture of the textile made in states like Arunachal in the north east are different from fabrics that are woven in other states of India. Also, weaving, spinning and dying have always been three very important industries in this part of the country. What began as an art form focused on how clothes are a means of protecting oneself against the rigours of climate, today has transformed into an arena of fashion, with some of the best artisans in the world. And everything is very symbolic – like the colours which are associated with tribes from the North East or the use of certain ornaments which are often associated with a family’s social position. For example, motifs of shapely pointed triangles depict arrows or hornbills, and the small red squares on a sanctum cloth represent ferment used for making beer. The colour red in shawls symbolises blood enemies, blue stands for sky, and black represents the night.
Age old practices have been brought back to life. Like the loin loom (also known as the backstrap loom) is a heritage which has been passed down over generations-it is one of the oldest looms in the world and is indigenous to the North East. It is still very popular amongst tribal women weavers. With these traditional looms, weavers till today make various intricate designs inspired by nature, birds, fish, animals, flowers and trees and incorporate modern new objects in their creations as well. The elaborate processes of spinning, dying and finally weaving remind us of the rich discoveries of the women who wove for as a custom. According to one of the legends, the art of weaving was learnt in a dream from the goddess Podi Barbi – a Galo song which narrates an entire story on how the cotton is grown, plucked and spun and how it is woven with cotton yarn in a loom. This old story, history, tradition and art is brought back to life in this unique collection, celebrating its intricate beauty and innate charm. Geometric patterns that once dominated the clothing worn by the women of Arunachal with the popular motif of zig-zag lines is showcased. Even floral patterns that take on a geometric form are seen. Simple and straight lines, reflective of clothes of the Adi and Aptani tribes are also brought to the spotlight. Another tribe celebrated in this collection are the Idu Mishmi of Arunachal – they can be distinctively identified by their typical hairstyles, distinctive costumes and artistic patterns on their clothes. They are expert craftsmen and particularly great weavers.
Drawing inspiration from the tribes and their ingenious craft, comes to focus a collection that will be like no other. Where history meets the future and the old becomes the new.
Picture of Supermodel Opang Jamir and Actor Sarah Jane Dias fame of “Indian Goddess” movie and Former Miss India World 2007 infront of the installation.