Meghalaya Fashion GlobalDaniel Syiem, a young designer from Meghalaya who has showcased ethnic apparel in global fashion hubs like New York, London and Rome is working to empower women weavers from North Eastern state to preserve the dying art of weaving of the state.

Natural fabrics of the region — Eri silk and Muga are hand-woven mostly in traditional loin looms. The Eri silk worms, which produce the famous Assam silk, are known in Meghalaya’s Khasi-Jaintia Hills as Niang Ryndia. The silk is cultured to weave the trademark Ryndia shawls, while the worms are also considered a delicacy in many parts of Meghalaya.

Daniel, along with his friend Janessaline M. Pyngrope, launched the Daniel Syiem Ethnic Fashion House (DSEFH) in Shillong in 2011 to promote Ryndia (eri silk) and the traditional hand-woven fabrics of northeast India.

The art of making these textiles is slowly disappearing but Daniel who has rich experience in working with indigenous fabrics is striving to preserve it by making traditional fabric fashionable. Daniel has been instrumental in promoting women weavers of Meghalaya’s Ri Bhoi district.

The making of these heritage fabrics has been passed down from generation to generation of weavers. The weavers need to be supported and encouraged by making their craft economically viable, Daniel said.

Daniel has showcased his work – ensembles for women in natural fabrics in various fashion weeks in places like Rome, New York, London, Toronto, Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Jaipur.

Janessaline, who is the business head, co-founder and partner in Daniel’s fashion house said that they both have common goal of promoting, protecting and reviving the hand-woven fabrics of the North East of India. They decided to come together to create something unique and innovative with Ryndia through the medium of fashion.

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