Northeast has produced some of the finest designers during the last two decades, and some of them have also excelled in the national and international levels. But the industry is still lagging behind in the Northeast due to lack of infrastructure, sufficient production and outflow of human resources, felt experts.
“There is immense creativity among the students in Assam and the Northeastern region. But there is lack of infrastructure and the level of competitiveness is low. There is a vast difference in the level of production that a factory in Assam handles as compared to metro cities. Here, the production is still done in a small scale,” Director of JD Institute of Fashion Technology, Sumita Dey Deka told Northeast Now.
Stating that due to lack of exposure the weavers are unable to capture the global market, Deka said, “The Northeast has many fabrics and the local weavers have very good techniques. But there has to be value-addition to a product to make it contemporary,” adding, “For instance, the ethnic attires of the region need to be improvised according to the market trends to cater to the need of the buyers globally.”
Guwahati is emerging as a growing hub with numerous institutes catering to the increasing number of students who want to study fashion designing from Assam and other parts of the Northeast.
On the career in design, the Head of Guwahati Centre of DreamZone, Monmoth Bordoloi said, “A career in design is a viable option for students as it increases employability and has huge scope for entrepreneurship.”
In addition to fashion designing, there are huge opportunities through courses in web design, jewelry design or Interior Architecture and Design (IAD).
“Although this sector has worldwide prospects, it is not organized in proper channels. The awareness among students in the local level is very low and they usually move out to metro cities to pursue such courses,” Director of Business Development, Chiranjeev Baruah said.
Yet, the scenario is not all dreary and some students from these institutes have showcased their works at the national and international platforms. Some even go to have their own boutiques forming tie-ups with international brands.
“Fashion designing has a global market and today’s generation is tech-savvy. The global market is within our reach due to increased connectivity. The government has started giving importance to the growth of this sector across the Northeast. Moreover, with the boom in the retail sector, there are good future prospects in this field,” Deka said.
On the other hand, institutes like CEC located at Silpukhuri in Guwahati impart vocational training to the students. Focusing on mediocre students, they stress on providing livelihood to people especially in the rural areas.
Executive Director of CEC, Jyoti Rupam Dutta said, “Moving away from traditional courses, we are trying to empower people by providing them alternate sources of livelihood. We have reached out to rural areas in Dhemaji and Majuli to train people in fashion and interior designing, who then get engaged in expanding their business.”
“We have a lot of fabrics and designs among different communities in the region but we are yet to fully tap the market,” he added.