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A new collaboration between Bhutan and India will be exhibited in the field of fashion and textile heritage of the two countries. 

Fashion and textile, a new collaboration between Bhutan and India

Younten Tshedup

A new collaboration between Bhutan and India will be exhibited in the field of fashion and textile heritage of the two countries.

In an effort to encourage traditional textiles and weaving, both a forte of the two countries and to foster collaboration between the traditional textile artisans and designers, a textile presentation called Khadi-Thagzo will be held later today at Royal Textile Academy (RTA) in Thimphu.

Four leading Bhutanese designers – Chandrika Tamang, Kencho Wangmo, Tshering Choden and Sangay Choden including three Indian designers – Anamika Khanna, Rajesh Pratap Singh and Samant Chauhan will be displaying some 48 ensembles made using Khadi and traditional Bhutanese fabric.

Ambassador of India to Bhutan, Ruchira Kamboj, said that the event is also to celebrate Bhutan-India friendship and to commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.

The president of Fashion Design Council of India, Sunil Sethi, said that the programme would not just be a fashion event but an opportunity to further foster the collaboration between the two countries through fashion.

Khadi according to Sunil Sethi symbolises purity, which was adapted by Gandhi and represents a Spartan life. “In the age of global fashion trends, Khadi represents a life about minimalism.”

He said that since Gandhi believed in purity, the fashion show would not exhibit the usual glamour associated with such events. “We wanted to start with the purity factor, which is also our first connect to Bhutan.”

RTA’s executive director, Rinzin O Dorji, said that the event is a platform to showcase the talent of Bhutanese designers. “Our designers would be working with Khadi and combinations of different traditional Bhutanese textiles,” she said.

In doing so, she said that it will promote and popularise the Bhutanese designers and traditional textiles in India and at the same time bring bout the similarities that the two countries have in their textile traditions.

Last week five Bhutanese designers took part in the India fashion week to explore the fashion industry there.

Ambassador Ruchira Kamboj said that, “We are opening up collaboration between the two countries in the textile sector and it is in our interest, that every year we’ll sent four to five designers to attend the fashion week.”

Although a recent phenomenon in Bhutan, Sunil Sethi said that the fashion industry has found a firm footing in the country. “ I was pleasantly surprised when I visited some of the showrooms of the designers here in Bhutan. They were actually ahead of their game.”

He said that the designers have combined tradition into current trend and had a clear understanding of fashion. “Next year in March, we’ll have a Bhutanese stall at the India fashion week to help promote the Bhutanese crafts.”

Bhutanese designers might not be well known as yet, he said.  “However, RTA is well respected in India. Many people come to Bhutan to visit the academy for inspirations,” he said. “It is opening up a new frontier of tourism – fashion and textile tourism.”

It was also learnt that a Bhutanese designer, Dorothy Gurung, would be opening up the first Indian Khadi outlet in Bhutan towards the end of the year or beginning next year.

At the sideline, a food festival, Benarsi Satvik Bhojan, a pure vegetarian cuisine would also be served after the fashion event.

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