Chimmi Choden & Chandrika Tamang
Chimmi Choden & Chandrika Tamang

Fashion to be one of the key themes of 8th Mountain Echoes

This August, stories from the world of fashion take center-stage at the 8th edition of Mountain Echoes Literary Festival.The distinctive literary, arts and cultural festival will be held in Thimphu from 24th – 27th August and will celebrate Untouched Beauty, Unexplored Ideas and Unstoppable Voices from the heart of the happiest country in the world.

Fashion will be one of the key themes at this year’s edition of the Mountain Echoes literary festival. Designers from across Bhutan and India will come together to curate collections which intersperse their nation’s textile heritage with contemporary fashion, with an aim to build a common thread between the two countries and their shared cultures. With celebrated names such as Chandrika Tamang and Chimmi Choden from Bhutan and designer duo Abraham & Thakore (David Abraham & Rakesh Thakore) from India, the festival promises audiences a glimpse into the intricacies of design from both countries.

A specially-curated fashion show will see models walk the ramp wearing exquisite weaves designed by Chimmi Choden’s CHIMMI House of Design. The home-grown brand gives the artistic heritage of Bhutan’s weaving culture a modern twist, preserves the country’s unique craft and builds upon it to create contemporary designs.

Ace fashion designer Chandrika Tamang will also present an exclusive line of outfits from her eco-friendly label CDK. Inspired by Bhutan’s stunning natural surroundings, CDK’s designs combine traditional patterns and weaving methods to create fun, fashionable yet 100% eco-friendly apparels.

Set against the stunning backdrop of Bhutan, Mountain Echoes literary festival will also welcome front-runners from the Indian fashion fraternity – designer duo Abraham & Thakore, who will exhibit their contemporary designs and present their interpretation of traditional Indian textiles at the specially curated fashion show. The collection will focus on designs created by the two for the 2016 Rajasthan Heritage Week, jointly organized by Khadi Board, Government of Rajasthan and Prasad Bidapa Associates. Made using hand-spun khadi fabric, the striking clothes reflect an aesthetic inspired by the country’s strong tradition of using earthy fabrics. The collection gives khadi a modern spin and encourages its use as a central fabric for modern designs.

Established under the patronage of Her Majesty the Royal Queen Mother Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck, the eighth edition of the festival will see eminent names such as Malika Kashyap, founder of digital publication & creative agency Border & Fall that focuses on India’s craft and Prasad Bidapa, one of India’s leading fashion consultants, join the designers for a session on the global evolution of textiles and design traditions. The session will witness discussions on traditional patterns, methods of weaving and how age-old techniques can be easily infused to create very fashionable and wearable clothing.

The festival will also host a unique exhibition, titled ‘Handmade in Rajasthan’, curated by Prasad Bidapa that will celebrate the indigenous craft forms that give Rajasthan its distinctive identity. The exhibition will present a 360-degree view of Rajasthani textiles and a unique perspective of the designs that have been developed in the state by the local weavers, artisans and craftsmen.

Elaborating on the fashion element of the festival, Chandrika Tamang said, “Bhutan and India’s design traditions are closely linked. Our shared history has inspired designers across both nations and I am delighted to showcase my interpretation of the same at the eighth edition of the Mountain Echoes literary festival. My collection will be a mix of traditional Bhutanese designs, created using an amalgamation of both Indian and Bhutanese fabrics.”

Echoing her thoughts Chimmi Choden said, “The tradition of weaving is an inherent part of Bhutanese culture. A platform like Mountain Echoes literary festival will expose Bhutanese styles to a global audience. For the festival, CHIMMI House of Design has created a collection inspired by traditional textiles, enhanced by timeless silhouettes, straight lines and bold colors. We hope our collection will inspire visitors to the festival to study, understand and appreciate Bhutan’s rich culture and traditions, using fashion as a medium.”

Reiterating the beliefs of their Bhutanese counterparts, David Abraham and Rakesh Thakore said, “It is encouraging to see that handloom fashion is one of the threads that ties India and Bhutan together. For decades, we have advocated the ethereal beauty of traditional weaves & fabrics and integrated traditional techniques into mainstream Indian fashion. We are happy to be a part of the eighth edition of the Festival and believe it is an ideal platform for us to strengthen our mission of handloom resurrection.”

Adding to their thoughts, fashion stylist and consultant Prasad Bidapa said, “Mountain Echoes presents a carefully curated segment of beautiful clothes which are handmade in Rajasthan.

Each garment reflects the heritage aspect of Indian textiles & craftsmanship, creating a resonance that is luxurious, artisanal and extremely collectible. From the finesse of the kota doria sari to the robust hand-woven khadi we call our fabric of freedom; from the exquisite precision of our hand-blocked printing to the finesse of our embroidery, this collection is an emphatic tribute to the spinners, weavers, dyers, printers and embellishers of the beautiful state of Rajasthan.”

Set against the stunning backdrop of the Eastern Himalayas, Mountain Echoes literary festival is an initiative of the India-Bhutan Foundation, in association with India’s leading literary consultancy, Siyahi.

Presented by the Jaypee Group and powered by the Department of Tourism, Government of Rajasthan, the eighth edition of the festival will be held from August 25th – 27th, with a special inaugural ceremony on 24thAugust in Thimphu, Bhutan.

For years, Mountain Echoes literary festival has set the pace for discussions on ancient cultures and contemporary issues.

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