Today, North East is unarguably a fashion capital. However, the same was not the case when Daniel was growing up. In a setup where there was a derth of designers, Daniel had a vision. A vision to create a fashion storm in Shillong. Daniel says “Fashion was a passion that I took on at an early age”. After dabbling in other career options as well, he settled with the one thing he knew best- fashion designing. A decision that led to the creation of the Daniel Syiem’s Ethnic Fashion House. The Daniel Syiem’s Label is a timeless, classic ensemble for women wear.
Janessaline M. Pyngrope the co-founder of Daniel Syiem’s Ethnic Fashion House has also been instrumental in the success story of the Label. Janess’s work took her to different villages and in one of these visits she came across the weavers of Ri-Bhoi district in Meghalaya who make the Ryndia fabric. And then began her love affair with this beautiful fabric.
Armed with different backgrounds, both Daniel and Janess entered this partnership with one shared vision- to promote the Ryndia fabric in an ethical manner. The journey began with an interest to promote the locally made Ryndia fabric and work with the weavers first hand. Love and appreciation of their culture is what lies at the heart of the Fashion House. Wherein Daniel takes care of the creative aspect, Janess manages the business and financial parts of it.
Launched in 2011, the fashion house recently marked its 10th Year Anniversary, by launching their online store. With the online store, the fashion house has received a wider audience and clientele. In just 2 months of having launched the store, the stocks have already been replenished twice!
They have also launched their latest signature collection of 10 pieces. As a celebration of the 10th anniversary, they have selected their top ten designs. The signature style is minimalistic and a perfect blend of sophistication and panache. These signature collections have been made using other fabrics, which are more affordable and accessible.
Daniel takes pride in coming from the Khasi community. Both his grandfather and father were social activists. To him, becoming a fashion designer was important but it was also essential to give back to the society. Janess shares the same passion as she believes that theirs is a business where the societal impact has to be much heavier than the economics of it.
“Silk does for the body what diamonds do for the hand.”- Oscar de la Renta
The Ryndia fabric is a piece of history that joins the league of heirloom wears. Ryndia is not just a fabric, it is empowerment. Empowerment for the women weavers who have been provided with an alternate and stable source of income. For these women, the making of the fabric is a way to tell the world their story. It allows them to be a part of someone’s wardrobe, someone’s life.
Daniel says “The fabric itself is my inspiration because of its texture, the colour, its fall.” As a designer who has been working with the same fabric for over 10 years, he never feels short of inspiration. His new collections have always been different from the others be it in terms of the draping or the cut, he has never been repetitive. “Because I love the fabric so much and there is attachment to the fabric, I never feel short of inspiration.”
However, the limiting factor of working with Ryndia is the fact that it cannot be mass produced. It is a pure hand spun, pure handwoven work of the weaves. Moreover, 99% weavers are women who also have other responsibilities. Thus, weaving is not a full-time activity and in turn, limited.
Ryndia fabric has a niche market as the fabric is expensive. It is made with a lot of love and pride. Consequently, bringing it to the mass market where people do not have an appreciation of the product is something the fashion house is weary of.
Daniel and Janess work together to ensure that the products are both creative and marketable. From the ramp to the rack to the customers house- the team works tirelessly to ensure client satisfaction.
A lot of orders come from private clienteles who seek customised or couture products. Daniel believes that “even while catering to the needs of my clients, I must remain true to my design aesthetics.”
It is the fashion line which is released every year that allows Daniel to play with the fabrics even more and be as imaginative as he wants.
A decade ago, there were no North east designer in mainstream fashion world. But, recent years have seen a lot of participation. An example of this is the North East Mojo, a part of the Lakme Fashion Week that is dedicated to designers from the Region.
With the culture of fast fashion, the Fashion House has been committed towards sustainable fashion. The Ryndia products are 100% organic and has direct impact on artisans who get the major share of the profit. Being online also makes it important to be updated so that they appeal to a larger audience. Daniel says, “It is important to know what is going on around the world so that I can inculcate that into my designs”. Both Daniel and Janess feel that the online store is just a beginning and there is a lot more to be done with Ryndia and their Fashion House.
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