New Delhi: She hails from Arunachal Pradesh, stays in Assam, and is making a headway internationally by showcasing the handloom prowess of culturally-rich northeastern India. After displaying her tribal creations with a modern twist in London, Yana Ngoba is now eyeing the runways of global fashion capitals Paris and Milan.
Ngoba presented her collection in collaboration with designer Nabam Aka, also from Arunachal Pradesh, as a part of the London Fashion Week’s off-schedule show Fashions Finest. And the 28-year-old is thrilled with the response.
“Our collection highlighted the northeast region’s handloom, especially the loin loom made in Mizoram, Manipur, Arunachal, Nagaland… even muga of Assam. We used them to create gowns, dresses, skirts and ornaments.
“People (in London) loved it. They couldn’t believe people in India could be so different,” Ngoba told IANS in a telephonic interview from Guwahati, where she is based now.
She said that the buyers associated Indian fashion with only saris. So they were pleasantly surprised when they saw her bright-coloured range of apparel in the form of gowns with slits or deep neck and skirts with jackets paired with accessories and ornaments made of bronze, silver, old Indian coins and bamboo canes.
“People in London asked me ‘Which country are you inspired by?’ I said ‘India’. So, they were confused. They said that they have always seen people wearing saris (in India). I said ‘No. We are from northeast India and have a different culture’.
“We even showed pictures and videos on our culture. Most of the things were sold out. We also got orders in bulk,” said the designer, who has been in the industry for over a decade.
Ngoba, who had showcased her creations at another fashion week in Britain last year, now wants to explore other international markets.
“Milan Fashion Week is not yet confirmed. But I’ll make sure it is. It is a dream. Fashion comes from all the big cities like London, Milan and Paris; so we thought of hitting those ramps first,” she said.
A regular participant in northeast festivals in the country, she says Indian fashion weeks can wait as she would like to get a taste of the international platform first.
“When I see Indian fashion weeks, most of the fashion designers focus on international fashion… like evening wear or dresses. So, I thought that maybe we should do international fashion shows first,” she said.
People from northeast are considered to have a distinct sense of style and often, their fashion seems to be influenced by western trends.
“We get things mostly from Bangkok if they are not our traditional attire. If you notice, since our forefathers’ time, fashion has been important to us. They were always decked up from head to toe… be it headgear, ornaments or colourful clothes. That’s our personal style… something different from the rest of the world,” she said.
Any fashion picks from the northeast region?
“Maybe you can start with the jewellery pieces. The ones made with coins will go well with sari or salwars too,” said the designer, who wants to work with more weavers across the country.
India prides itself on its so called diversity but these are just plain talks. The real situation on the ground is terrible for all Northeasterners, especially womenfolk. People from Northeast are racially abused by mainland Indians as "chinkis" This derogatory term means an individual with slanted eyes.
The author spent several years in Delhi and sadly witnessed numerous unfortunate incidents in Delhi involving shoddy treatment of Northeast women and girls especially by Jats of urban villages like Katwaria Sarai, Ber Sarai and Munirka.
Northeastern states of India comprises of Assam, Tripura, Meghalaya, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim & Mizoram. This region is also referred to as the Seven Sisters. The physical characteristics of the inhabitants of these states are different than the Indian people. Due to which they face racial discrimination in other parts of the country.
Northeasterners have oriental looks and are hard-working, friendly people. Matriarchy is practised among many groups in the Northeast. Successive Indian governments neglected this whole region, as a result it has stayed backwards in terms of infrastructure.
Tourists need special permits from the government authorities to visit many regions of Northeast India. In 1958, the Indian government passed a law, the Armed Forces Special Act (AFSPA) that applies to various seven Northeastern states. This grants security forces the power to search properties without a warrant, to arrest people and to use deadly force if there is “reasonable suspicion” that a person is acting against the state.
Army officers have legal immunity for their actions as per AFSPA; there can be no prosecution, suit or any other legal proceeding against anyone acting under this law. Indian army frequently misuses its power by harassing the residents of Northeast region under the pretext of this draconian law.
Social Exclusion of the Seven Sisters
An activist from Manipur, Irom Chanu Sharmila holds the world record as the longest hunger striker”. Sharmila grew up in Manipur, one of the Seven Sister States in India’s northeast, which has suffered from continuous neglect by the Indian government for decades.
Sharmila’s primary demand to the Indian government has been the repeal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA).
She started her fast in Malom on 5 November 2000 and vowed not to eat, drink, comb her hair or look in a mirror until AFSPA was repealed. She ended her hunger strike on 9 August 2016 after 16 years of fasting. Sadly, AFSPA is still in force. Ordinary people of Northeast India are tormented by Delhi through its army.
No major industry exists in this region, therefore, the employment prospects for the locals are practically non-existent. Basic infrastructure like roads and electricity supply is not up to the mark in this area. Youngsters from these parts migrate to big cities of India like Delhi, Bombay, Bangalore etc. to find jobs.
The women of North East are good looking and fashion conscious. Majority of Indian males are sexually frustrated perverts. They harass Northeast women on a daily basis. People from Northeast are racially abused by mainland Indians as “chinkis”, This derogatory term means an individual with slanted eyes.
The same abusive word is also used by the majority of Indians while referring to the Chinese citizens. State of affairs is dreadful in New Delhi, which is the capital city of India. Delhi has many localities known as Urban Villages. These places are just villages in a name. They do not have any farming land.
Owners of houses in these neighborhoods have got tall buildings erected by flouting all building laws, regulations in order to build the maximum number of rooms and put them on rent to earn easy tax-free cash. Northeast migrants to Delhi are overcharged higher rents by these deceitful landlords.
Urban villages, especially in areas around South Delhi are dominated in particular by a community known as ‘Jats’. They own most of the houses in these parts.
The Jat community comprises of male chauvinists of the worst kind on this planet. They earn huge tax-free income every month as rent from Northeasterners and other migrants to Delhi; as a result, most of them don’t do much productive work. They just sit in groups, play cards and drink liquor from morning-night.
All Indian political parties are scared of Jats as they resort to hooliganism to blackmail central as well as state governments in order to get concessions for their community.
These Jat men have made the life of Northeastern women in Delhi a living hell. These Northeastern women cannot go back to their homes in Northeast because they face sexual violence at the hands of Indian army personnel furthermore; there are no job prospects in the region. They are teased, sexually harassed and even raped by these unscrupulous Jat house owners and their family members.
Delhi Police also has plenty of Jat personnel so, these poor, unfortunate Northeast women cannot even complain about their ordeal to the Police.
A few women, who gather the courage to approach police stations to lodge complaints are ridiculed and abused by the Police staff as women of loose character, ‘chinki whores’ etc.
Northeasterners are highly depressed and frustrated due to this daily ordeal. Their culture, language, food habits and norms are all entirely different from the mainland Indians.
Does Unity in Diversity really exist in India?
India prides itself on its so called diversity but these are just plain talks. The real situation on the ground is terrible for all Northeasterners, especially womenfolk.
The citizens of all seven Northeastern states should not tolerate this discrimination anymore. They must pressurize their local politicians to raise this matter seriously with the central government in Delhi alternatively, they could completely boycott their so called political representatives.
“No taxation without representation”, this slogan originated during the 1750’s and 1760’s in U.S.A. It summarized the primary grievance of American colonists in the thirteen colonies against the British Parliament. This ultimately culminated in the successful American Revolution.
No voting without safety & respect
Northeastern citizens across the entire length and breadth of India should unite under the slogan; “No voting without safety & respect.”
Election Commission of India has introduced NOTA (None of the above) on the ballot papers as an option for the voters. It means that the voter does not find any political party’s candidate competent enough, that’s why they exercise the NOTA option by not voting for a candidate of any political party.
If, the ordinary residents of all seven northeastern states unite together and press NOTA during all state assembly as well as Parliamentary elections, then their local politicians, as well as political parties in Delhi, would definitely wake up to their serious grievances and initiate measures to prevent this dastardly treatment meted out to Northeast citizens in India.
Footnote– This composition is dedicated to three beautiful, kind, compassionate, independent & friendly girls from Northeast India. Suzie, Tanya and Mikii were friends of the author in Delhi during the late 1990’s before we lost contact with each other. These girls were unfortunate victims of numerous atrocities perpetrated on them by Jats.
The writer sincerely hopes that all three of them are presently leading happy, peaceful lives somewhere and women from the Northeast region of India do not face any future trauma in Delhi as well as other cities in India.
– The author is a Master Degree holder in International Tourism & Leisure Studies from Netherlands and is based in China.
Mumbai, Sep 14, 2017: In a bid to boost Indian fashion designing talent internationally and celebrate the India-UK Year of Culture 2017, IMG Reliance and the British Fashion Council announced that they will support three emerging Indian designers to showcase within the designers Showrooms at the London Fashion Week September 15-19.
The three designers were part of the award winning exhibit presented by IMG Reliance “The Indian Pastoralists” — a special sustainable fashion exhibition at the International Fashion Showcase(IFS) 2017, which celebrates the universal relevance of fashion in contemporary culture and which forms a key part of London Fashion Week’s public-facing programme held during London Fashion Week February 2017.
They won the award for India and were announced as the winner of “International Fashion Showcase Country Award” beating works from 25 other nations judged by a panel of industry experts.
The three designers — [KA][SHA] by Karishma Shahani Khan, Ikai by Ragini Ahuja and Antar-Agni by Ujjawal Dubey — have been chosen to enhance their business internationally by showcasing their collections to world media and buyers through the prestigious Designer Showroom space at The Store Studios, the main London Fashion Week venue.
The three designers were invited by the British Fashion Council to showcase their collections as the IFS 2017 winners. The chosen Indian designers have a contemporary view to design though rooted in strong Indian influences making them perfect to represent the country’s emerging fashion aesthetic to the global audience.
Jaspreet Chandok, Head of Fashion, IMG Reliance said, “IMG Reliance through its lead platform Lakme Fashion Week has always focused on supporting young and emerging designers and this is an extension of the same.”
“We were honoured to win at the International Fashion Showcase last season at London Fashion Week and we hope that this is the start of a long and fruitful relationship between the fashion industries of UK and India.”
Caroline Rush CBE, Chief Executive British Fashion Council also feels delighted to welcome to the London Fashion Week Designer Showrooms the Indian collective, winners of IFS 2017.
“This LFW is more international than ever before with designers from the US, Asia and Europe choosing London to show their collections and proving that our capital is an international cultural and creative hub. Having the Indian collective in town further establishes that; and I look forward to seeing the collections of the three emerging labels,” said Caroline Rush CBE.
Located at The Store Studios, 180 Strand, the Designer Showrooms is home to over 150 British and international designers.
More than 100 designers will showcase their latest creations at New York Fashion Week in venues across New York on 7th September 2017
Some flagship brands such as Tommy Hilfiger, Thom Browne, Proenza Schouler, and Altuzarra have opted to move their shows overseas
The six-day schedule of New York Fashion Week has been streamlined to give buyers and editors more time to fly out to London Fashion Week
New York, USA, September 6, 2017:New York Fashion Week, the first in a series of global style weeks during September, is gearing up with designers ready to present their visions for Spring 2018.
This season, more than 100 designers will showcase their latest creations at New York Fashion Week in venues across New York on 7th September 2017, although some flagship brands such as Tommy Hilfiger, Thom Browne, Proenza Schouler, and Altuzarra have opted to move their shows overseas.
The six-day schedule of New York Fashion Week which previously ran for a full week has been streamlined to give buyers and editors more time to fly out to London Fashion Week, which follows directly after New York’s.
“When you look at fashion weeks globally – starting in New York, then London, then Milan, then Paris – it’s basically a month. You have editors and buyers traveling to all those fashion weeks,” said Steven Kolb, president of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, Inc. (CFDA), describing the “sheer exhaustion” of such a jam-packed schedule.
At New York Fashion Week (NYFW), high-profile fashion houses Calvin Klein and Tom Ford are kicking off the New York shows to “put it on the same playing field” as its European counterparts, Kolb said.
In keeping with the political messaging that often underlies with the New York Fashion Week, many fashionistas on and off the runway are expected to wear blue ribbons, created in collaboration with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
“The ACLU is an important group that really stands up for people’s rights – the right for people to live their lives as they choose,” Kolb said.
Celebrities have been sporting the ribbon on red carpets already this year, but for fashion week, the ribbon is branded with the NYFW initials.
Last season the CFDA paired up with the Planned Parenthood health group to create pink pins that ended up on the garments of models on the runway, designers such as Marchesa’s Georgina Chapman and Keren Craig and Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour. (VOA)