Khadi-Thagzo as a fashion and textile collaboration between Bhutan and India

The Indian Embassy, Thimphu, in collaboration with the Royal Textile Academy (RTA) have hosted an special event, Khadi-Thagzo(a fashion and textile show) on 16 October, jointly celebrating the textile heritage of Khadi and traditional Bhutanese fabric.

The event was made success with support of ministry  Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, GoI, the Khadi and Village Industries Commission and the Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI).

A total of 48 ensembles featuring leading designers from India and Bhutan were showcased in the event, fusing Khadi and Thagzo, handmade textile of Bhutan to create innovative garment lines.

During the event, 4 leading fashion designers from Bhutan, namely Chandrika Tamang, Kencho Wangmo, Tshering Choden and Sangay Choden displayed their designed dresses while three designers from India, namely Anamika Khana, Rajesh Pratap Singh and Samant Chauhan displayed the same.

The event aimed to encourage traditional textiles and weaving, both a forte of India and Bhutan, and to foster collaboration between the traditional textile artisans and designers from both the countries.

Ambassador of India to Bhutan, Ruchira Kamboj, said that this is something very important as both India and Bhutan are putting a team together for the event, and also it is to celebrate the Indo-Bhutan friendship. In addition, it is also to commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.

She said that while the two countries are working closely in many sectors together, why not they come up with something new which can connect people of the two countries, and thereby they came up with fashion and textile.

“This event has two big advantages to it, it places of lots of emphasis on the traditional textile heritage of the two countries and it would benefit women employed in such crafts,” she added.

This is not going to be one of but it is opening of collaboration in textile sector and it is their intention that every year, they will send 4 to 5 designers as chosen by RTA to India for an India fashion week, she added.

Executive Director of RTA, Rinzin O Dorji, shared that they have been discussing in a closer collaboration to promote and also to celebrate the textile heritage which has so much in common. “As India celebrates the 150th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, this provided an opportunity for such collaboration,” she added.

The event was a platform to showcase the talent of the Bhutanese designer and they have made it such that they will work on combination of both Khadi and Bhutanese textiles. They hope that by doing that, it will promote and popularize the Bhutanese designers and the textiles in India and at a same time bring about the similarities between the two textiles of traditions.

She said that the visit made by the five Bhutanese designers to India in recent time was a huge bonus for them. “We have had no fashion in a long time and a reason being that we want all our fashion presentations to have a meaning, so we have received this opportunity and thanks to Indian Embassy and Sunil Sethi,” she added.

Meanwhile, Chairman of FDCI, Sunil Sethi said, “Khadi symbolizes purity, it is about the Spartan life and about minimalism. It is not over exposure to so many different brands. People from Bhutan want to learn more and the RTA is very keen to promote this as they are promoting weaving and hand spun.”

He also said that this collaboration is working and it will work much faster and the event has happened in a matter of one-month time. “I visited their showrooms and saw the hunger in them to learn more, not only about fashion or textile but hunger to know more about Khadi as a fabric,” he said.

Designers in the Bhutan are ahead of the game, he said, adding that they just need the guidance. “They understand the fashion. In March 2020, we will have a Bhutan fashion stall in the India Fashion week and this way Bhutan will be able to capture the market at international level,” he added.

Bhutanese designers may not be well known as yet, however, RTA is well respected in India and many people come to Bhutan to visit the academy for inspirations, including the designers from India he said.

He said, “It is in a way opening a new frontier of tourism, fashion and textile tourism. And the textile tourism between India and Bhutan will soon start with the recent event.”

He said that in the next presentation they make, they will see how they can use Yathra from Bhutan and bring it along with the Indian products.

The four leading designers who have showcased their work during the event had visited Lotus Make-Up India Fashion Week from 10 October to 12 October 2019, on the invitation from FDCI Chairman Sunil Sethi.

In follow-up to the event, it is proposed to retail Khadi in Thimphu, bringing this heritage fabric of India and Bhutan.

Dorothy Gurung will be opening a Khadi outlet will be shortly inaugurated in Thimphu, by Januaray 2020 and this is the first time they are taking the outlet outside India.

The event was then followed by Vanarasi vegetarian food festival.

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