Itanagar, Aug 22 (IANS) Arunachal Pradesh’s Apatani tribal group’s traditional outfit from the 1960s impressed one and all at the North East India Fashion Week (NEIFW) here.
The traditional Apatani knee-length skirt in black and white looked quite ordinary when it was presented on the ramp of NEIFW, which concluded on Sunday. But when the weavers from Ziro, Arunachal Pradesh told the attendees of the fashion gala about the year it belonged to, many looked surprised.
“It’s called Kente Abi. We have been preserving it since the 1960s. It is a hand-woven cotton outfit that has been passed on by our great grandparents. There is a special box where we keep it,” Hibu Ollo, chairman of self help groups — Parii Bogo, Katu Ajing and Pai Women — told IANS.
She has showcased it at two exhibitions in Arunachal Pradesh, but it’s her first time at a fashion week.
“People at Ziro have seen it at exhibitions. But I want more people to know about our tribe and fashion, that’s why we decided to get it to the fashion week held in the capital of Arunachal Pradesh,” said Ollo.
There was something from the 1980s too.
“We even got Pusa Lenda. It is made of wool. It is like a skirt in colours like red, blue and yellow, to be worn with a top called Pingang,” she shared pointing at her white breathable top.
Her aim was to show how the fashion of her tribe had evolved over the years.
“We even presented Bilabi. It is a knee-length skirt like a wrap around in red and blue colours. The trend started in 1990s and is still popular among our women,” she said.
The traditional wear by Apatani weavers gave way to garments with western cuts by fashion designer Gloria Ovung from Nagaland.
Right from strapless gowns to knee-length skirts with shell work on them and even lehenga choli in pink, golden and red hues, the collection had something for different occasions.
Soon after her show, there was a splash of colours on stage as the models sashayed down the ramp in Manipuri traditional wear – phanek and phee – in colours like pink, orange, green and purple.
Designer Milli Indra Dangngo from Arunachal Pradesh then presented a collection that had pants with black and white stripes, jumpsuits with halter neck, high collar tops with flared skirts and much more.
Designer Rupert Wanlambok from Meghalaya brought down the curtain on the three-day gala by showcasing a collection that had gowns, saris, lehengas and even anarkali suits.
“My aim was to bridge the gap between traditional and modern wear. Most of the shows were all about tribal wear only. I just wanted to spice up things, so I gave a twist to my collection,” he told IANS about the collection made of fabrics like eri silk, khadi, net and chanderi.
Hosted by designer Yana Ngoba Chakpu, the fashion gala showcased some of the best creations by the weavers and designers from the northeast India region.
(The writer is in Itanagar at the invitation of the fashion week’s organisers. Natalia Ningthoujam can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)