This year North East became the focus of ‘Sustainable fashion and Textile Day’ at the Lakme Fashion Week Winter/Festive 2016, making designers from the state of Assam hopeful about their future in the mainstream fashion industry. The day, dedicated to handlooms and Indian textiles, saw three labels from Assam showcasing their collection dominated by the Assamese hand-woven fabrics like muga, pat and eri. Titled ‘Halodhi’, the show also aimed at empowering woman, who are mainly involved with the weaving and protecting the tribes. Designer Aditi Holani Chandak, Pranami Kalita and Anuradha Kuli presented their range which was high on fashion as well as tradition with an aim to bring forward the textile heritage of the region.
“The fabrics of Assam are luxurious. Because of the lack of demand women have to come to cities and found jobs. They know so much about weaves, but have to work as housemaids. These are all artisans. These are the people, who have created these beautiful garments and we were losing out on them,” said Pranami. “Platform like this giving limelight to Assam is just a stepping stone to a long journey, it will surely create awareness and create that demand in the market and henceforth create livelihood for these people.
“At the end we all have to be practical about earning livelihood, which is as important as anything else and if we will get this support from mainstream India, I think we will keep going forward.”
The young designer has relocated to India from UK to promote the textile of her home state and presented a collection under her label Pariah. Her collection included silks incorporated the usage of silks like paat, eri and monga, which she used to create both contemporary and tradition outfits. Aditi, who designed the range for NGO ANTS Craft, said the initiative will revive the dying handloom culture.
“Made in Assam is happening for the first time. It will prompt the women to not leave and keep going with their work. They can easily continue as handloom fashion is not dying away. Handloom is the new style,” she said. Anuradha under her label ‘Naturally Anuradha’ showcased a collection of sarees. A master weaver, she worked with natural dyes and hand-spun Eri threads to create sarees.
“I hope that the platform will make a difference in the lives of the weavers. I work with 52 weavers and each saree we create takes 45 days. It is all handwoven. The hardwork we do is going in front of the world through this platform and I hope to support a lot more weavers,” she said.