With his recent prêt line called Breathe Easy, that just walked the India Runway Week in New Delhi, Daniel Syiem has proved yet again, this master craftsman from the North East truly knows his craft. Chic and effortless, the designs floored everyone. Catching the genius behind…
Fashion designing is something which I was very passionate about right from my school days. What started as a hobby turned into full time career. But in between, I did dabble with other career options and various jobs. From driving a cab to working in a cafe to working in a call centre and to managing Shillong’s first night club, I did it all till I realised that fashion is something that I wanted to do for the rest of my life.
Being introduced to the weavers of our state and to their fabric the ‘Ryndia’ made me want to pursue designing in a whole new perspective. I have always believed in fashion with a cause. Working with the Ryndia gave me an opportunity to do that. I am now able to use Fashion as a medium to give the outside world a chance to peek into our culture and tradition.
I have always believed that clothing should almost feel like second skin ( at least most times). I work with our heritage fabric the Ryndia, which is hand-woven and is 100% organic. It is also famous for its medicinal and thermal properties. The fabric also has a very rich texture to it. Keeping in mind the value of the fabric, our design philosophy is to keep it simple, minimal and classy. The focus is on clean lines and interesting drapes with a lot of attention to detail. A Daniel Syiem garment is all about comfort and keeping it classy.
Our first Ryndia collection was launched at the Lakme Fashion Week for Summer Resort 2013. The collection named after the name of the fabric itself showed off the true value and versatility of the Ryndia through shift dresses, tops, jump-suits and “Jainsem” inspired dresses.
We did get a lot of positive feedback from the audience, media and the fashion fraternity. People were excited to understand the fabric more and also wanted to have a feel of it. They were amazed that despite the rough texture, the Ryndia felt so smooth on the skin.
I particularly remember being questioned that if I intend to work with only one single fabric and that too which is so limited in terms of colours and patterns, I might become repetitive. This would be my answer now-In three years I have launched almost 8 collections exclusively with the Ryndia alone. And each time I work on a collection, I get new inspirations.
I feel that I have an almost spiritual connection with the fabric and I believe it keeps me inspired and not to be repetitive.
Yes I do come from a place where people are notoriously famous for their sense of style. You see it everywhere- on the streets, colleges, government offices and where churches, weddings and funerals offer a free runway to fashionistas of all age groups. So, for me inspiration comes easy. It also comes from music, another thing which Shillong is known for. But most times I draw inspiration from my culture and tradition.
The thing with being a designer from the North East is that one can easily draw inspiration from various elements from our rich culture and tradition. But one also has to draw a line as in to what extent to apply that inspiration, in order to come up with designs that can appeal to customers everywhere else and not just here.
Keeping in mind our design philosophy, I make sure that our designs have a global appeal yet with subtle ethnic tones to them to ensure our sustainability in the market.
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