Fashion mixed with tradition as five British models sashayed down the catwalk to cheers at the Nehru Centre here, highlighting the organic, eco-friendly fabric of “Ryndia” from Ri-Bhoi district of Meghalaya.
The show on Tuesday evening featuring designs by Shillong-based entrepreneurs Daniel Syiem and Janessaline M Pyngrope was part of the Nehru Centre’s focus on northeast India’s culture, craft and music. It showcased a less-known aspect of contemporary India to a London audience.
“We are using fashion as a platform to peek into my culture and tradition, taking my story to the world. The indigenous art of hand-weaving is passed down through generations. Our effort is to promote traditional fabrics and preserve a dying craft,” Syiem said.
The sights and sounds of Meghalaya came alive in a documentary that detailed the production of Ryndia (eri silk), from rearing the silk worms, extracting silk from cocoons to spinning and reeling the silk, dying and finally weaving.
Syiem received a standing ovation at the end of the show that highlighted a range of chemical-free contemporary designs with clean lines, drapes, silhouettes, unique bows and distinctive necklines.
The Nehru Centre’s focus on northeast India includes an exhibition of textiles, songs and dances from the region, Birdoisila Bihu Gosthi to showcase the cultural evolution of Assam , a tribal war victory dance from Mizoram, Manini Radha dance from Manipur and cultural crafts and music from Meghalaya and Nagaland.
The Nehru Centre is the cultural wing of the Indian high commission in London.