Imphal: Easternlight Zimik, an emerging designer and art illustrator from Ukhrul in Manipur, recently launched his debut collection, “Shim (Home),” under the brand name ‘East’ to empower local weavers.
Born in Kachouphung village, situated among the last remaining villages of the Tangkhul Naga community, Zimik seeks to employ fashion and art as a means to reconnect with his heritage and discover his roots.
“The collection represents my journey to start my dream of building a system where we can uplift and strengthen our weavers and showcase their skills to the world. It also aims to improve their quality of life and establish infrastructure for preserving our traditional weaving techniques, which are diminishing day by day due to various factors,” said fashion designer Zimik.
“The collection also wants to explore who we are as a community through our clothing, music, landscape, and creative expressions,” said Zimik, who left the city and recently returned to his hometown of Ukhrul to pursue his dream project.
He further explained that the collection is a platform for innovating materials and exploring different craftsmanship skills such as stitching and embroidery, which are used in various mediums.
Zimik, who previously worked with renowned fashion designers, said that the goal for his debut collection is to make traditional kashan/mekhala garments, often seen as formal attire, more appealing to the younger generation for everyday wear. He believes this can help promote cultural identity, support weavers, and boost the economy.
Additionally, Zimik’s collection aims to focus on sustainability by incorporating recycled materials.
Meanwhile, keeping in mind how climate is changing and affecting our day-to-day lives, as well as how polluted the garment and fashion industry is to the environment, Zimik said that it is high time for us to introspect on our way of living and its effect on the environment.
“We all know how prominent and essential the second-hand business is to our community, owing to many reasons from economic to quality points of view. However, we have to understand how polluted the environment is with surplus second-hand products in our surroundings,” said the young designer.
With a strong belief in recycling garments and products, I started this recycling journey by collecting unsold products and redesigning them using different embroidery techniques, patchwork, etc., and producing them as one single unique product for the market,” informed Zimik.
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Based in Manipur, East is a brand trying to build a lifestyle brand from fashion to home furnishings with a full commitment to representing Northeastern weavers and their potential to uplift their lives and build an environment where everyone can thrive to their fullest. Also, East wanted to create a space where creative people work together and create a space where collaboration is the ultimate winner,” added Zimik.
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