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Come February, the region gets its own three-day fashion festival.
YANA Ngoba was barely eight when her affair with jewellery began and was all of 16 when she had her first show as a jewellery designer. Born in Arunachal Pradesh, she would give a new lease of life to beads, bamboo and broken jewellery by creating neck pieces, bracelets and earrings. Next month, Ngoba's innovative pieces will do the walking at the three-day North East Fashion Fest, which kicks off in Guwahati on February 20.
Said to be the first such fashion festival, it's being organised by Basics Concepts & Marketing Pvt Ltd in association with the Ministry of Home Affairs – NE Division. "This initiative has come in a bit late but I am happy that efforts are being made to put Northeast into the mainstream. Also, the fact that the ministry is backing it means that the initiative will be taken more seriously," says Ngoba, whose collection for the show is made out of bones, brass, silver, coral and agate.
She is one of the several designers from the Northeast who will participate in the fest. Besides, a number of Delhi-based designers — including Jenjum Gadi, Nida Mahmood, Raakesh Agarwal and Rajdeep Ranawat — are also part of the event. "This gives me an opportunity to work with Assamese artisans and it's a good barter. We get to explore a new market and try out different textiles," says Agarvwal, who will also give a glimpse of this collection at his stall at the Wills India Fashion Week Autumn-Winter 2013-14, to be held in Delhi in March.
There is similar child-like excitement in the voice of Sunita Shankar, who will be working on fusion silhouettes with muga and eri silk as well as Assamese cotton. "As designers, we will generate employment in the region as well as upgrade the skills of weavers and artisans there," she says.