From culinary delicacies, to literary discussions, photo exhibitions, artisans displaying their crafts and of course, rock music, last week’s North East festival was a dazzling showcase of everything the region is known for.
The festival’s seventh edition, held at the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, was attended by thousands of visitors. There were more than 100 craft stalls of authentic handloom products from the region and a buyers-sellers meet on North East textiles to give an overview of the growing textile market in India to local artisans.
Apart from a rock battle between bands from the region and Delhi University colleges, one of the high points of the festival was a fashion show on the lawns in the evening. One of the brands to show their creations on the ramp was Impulse Empower, which has a line that has been created to employ tribal women from the region and help protect them from human trafficking. Eager patrons were seen browsing through brightly woven and imaginativelycrafted cloth items such as stationary items, pouches, sarongs, shoes, laptop bags, and handbags. Holding up a bag at the stall, Mitali Gurung, designer for the home furnishings, explained the process. “We have patterns from the Mishing tribe in Assam, and we have items from Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur and other states. All our items are cotton woven on looms. We provide the dyed yarns to our weavers. Once they make it the fabric comes to me and other designers.”
Explaining the objectives of the organisation she said, “The brand works for the tribal women of the North East. We work to empower women by keeping them employed, and from falling into human trafficking. We have thousands of weavers from all the Seven Sisters working for us.” Added Husnara Kharbhih, brand ambassador of Impulse, who was among the show-stoppers at the brand’s fashion show, along with renowned footballer Renedy Singh, “We are trying to give them more opportunities so that they don’t have to move out of their homes.”
Hasina Kharbhih, managing director of Empower, said she was happy with the response to the exhibition at the festival, “We are really happy to be here, and I am so glad so many people here in the Capital like us.”