Sinlung /
16 October 2014

The Long Road To Runway

By Madhumita Srinivasan

Meghalaya-based Daniel Syiem on showing at the London Fashion Week and the increasing awareness about brands in the North East.

“It’s all about the designers and their collection at the London Fashion Week, while in India the focus is on the celebs — who is attending it, and who is walking for whom,” rues upcoming fashion designer Daniel Syiem, but with the genuine hope that the Indian fashion industry will change for the better.
Daniel would know because he showcased his collection ‘Amaranthine’ at the London Fashion Week S/S 2015 last month which was received with much appreciation and interest. His collection was inspired by the natural beauty and resources of his home state — Meghalaya. It featured largely western pieces — from crop shirts and jump suits to dresses and pants — made out of the hand-spun, organic fabric Ryndia, dyed in natural colours like turmeric, violet, ochre, olive, indigo, amaranth and ivory.  “The response was overwhelming,” says Daniel. “They understood what I was trying to portray — all the little details. I was really happy!” Through his collection, Daniel wanted to showcase the rich but dying tradition of hand-woven fabric from his state and other regions in the North-East for which he works closely with the artisans through his fashion label Daniel Syiem’s Ethnic Fashion House established in 2011 along with his partner Janessaline M Pyngrope.
 “My grandfather and father are social activists who work for the people. So in my own way I wanted to do something for my people too,” explains Daniel who started off with a small boutique in Shillong.
 The people of North-East are generally known for being fashionable, but the concept of wearing labels and designer brands is quite new. “It took time for people to understand what I was doing because they used to treat me like some high-end tailor. But over the years things have changed. And there is a lot of talent out there that is still untapped.”  Daniel is currently working on establishing his base and understanding the fabric because it can be quite challenging working with it especially with its limited colour palette. “We cannot do this on our own. We are looking at collaborating with different experts like textile designers. We have a few on board who are trying to see how different prints and dyes can be incorporated and how to revive age-old dyeing methods. This is where my passion lies,” says Daniel.
 Currently, Daniel is busy responding to enquires he received from sellers in Europe after his show and preparing for the London Fashion Week’s Autumn/Winter to which he has been invited again. “The material I work with is more suited to the climatic conditions in Europe, so we would like to tap into the European markets. The response we have been receiving here in India has been positive too.

We have managed to generate some buzz and people are noticing us.” The fashion industry sat up to take notice of this designer who marries Nature with couture after his debut at the Lakme Fashion Week last year.


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