Fashion industry is still at its nascent stage in the Himalayan state. The prospects of a new industry is brimming with a new hope of building upon the traditional knowledge and inherent style of Sikkimese people to develop it into something greater.

Fashion icon and yesteryear international supermodel from Bangladesh, Bibi Russel, alongside noted tea brand of Sikkim Temi Tea held a deliberation with stakeholders from fashion and modelling industry in the capital on 2nd July.

Russel, one of the most successful models from Asia expressed happiness over her visit to Sikkim and stated that this is her second time in the Himalayan state.

A celebrated model and a sustainable fashion champion, she has been hailed across the world with numerous awards including Designer for Development award by UNESCO, Cross of Officer of the Order of Queen Isabella by the King of Spain and Bangladesh National film award for costume designing.

She said that she is here in order to help use local resource for fashion and to help grow Sikkim’s own design, fabrics and help the industry grow as a whole.

Mrinalini Srivastava, MD, Temi Tea, held that the program is meant not just to brainstorm but also chart a road map ahead with all the stakeholders. She further informed that such an engagement in Sikkim is the need of the hour with an impetus on exposure, networking, fashion, retail and hospitality.

Vishal Mukhia, Coordinator, North East Rural Livelihood Project (NERLP), stated that many individuals in rural parts of Sikkim can be given a platform if personalities like Russel promote our local artisans and weavers.

Many members of fashion industry were present in the function which saw deliberations and discussions on different aspects of taking forward the budding fashion industry in the Himalayan state.

Stress was given to build a vibrant market in the state and promotion of Sikkim’s ethnic and traditional wear to fuse it with modern designs.

Russel along with other stakeholders informed that they want to collaborate with Sikkimese talent and take their art in the rightful place. They stated that Sikkimese have an inherent sense of style and fashion with a slight direction and push, the industry can do wonders for Sikkim.

Rinzing Doma, an aspiring fashion designer from Sikkim insisted on having a proper action plan on part of the government in order to utilize whatever is available currently in terms of schemes and plans the government has.

Another designer, Tsering Dolma has also insisted on proper mechanism to be set up for the initial push so that the local talent can be encouraged for sometime till the fashion entrepreneurs reach a certain level of sustainability.

Some of the Sikkimese girls like Peden Ongmu Namgyal ans Parmila Chhetri have made giant leap in the field of modelling but the question that arises is that weather fashion and modelling as a profession is only feasible outside Sikkim?

Till we do not find ways to be successful in finding sustainability in this industry, there will always be marginal takers for this as a profession in Sikkim. Hence, government’s initial push can aid this industry.

We can positively hope that the style that Sikkimese possess as consumers of all global trends can be reversed into being creators of something meaningful.

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