Gangtok, November 10: Over eleven Lepcha fashion designers entertained a wide audience at Manan Kendra this evening, on the occasion of the “Himalayan Ethnic Lepcha Fashion event” (HELFE) Grand Finale. Over fifty models, children, men and women, caught the attention, wearing colourful new designs of Lepcha attire. “The aim is to give a platform for upcoming talents, to show that the Lepcha Community is not vanishing and to promote easier Lepcha attires to wear, for day to day life”, explained Phurbu D. Rongmit, coordinator of the fashion exhibition. The idea came while discussing a Facebook topic, “Our attire”, which became a project.
In September, over eleven designers were shortlisted out of thirty-four, at Kalimpong. In the opening speech, Tshering Wangchuk Lepcha, convener, evoked “cultural awareness”. He was followed by Lyangsong Tamsang, President of ILTA (Indigenous Lepcha Tribal Association), Kalimpong, who congratulated the Lepcha Youth for “having come forward to promote their tradition, culture and customs”.
The HELFE was organised by Sikkim Lepcha Youth Association (SLYA), and Lepcha Youth Association (LYA), with Sikkim Express as media partner. S.D Lepcha, Sikkim Lepcha Association (SLA) President, added that “changing is necessary, in order not to vanish”, speaking of “evolution in process”. Bhaichung Bhutia, former Indian football Captain and Brand Ambassador of the event, addressed the families, saying “friends have more influence on children than their parents”, supplementing that “a chance of changing should be given to the troubled youth”, as they fall into drugs, alcohol and even suicide.
The footballer then declared that “the future of India and of Sikkim is its Youth, culture, tradition and greenery”. K.T Gyaltsen, Parliament House Speaker, and Chief Patron of the event, spoke about the “protection of tradition”. He pointed out “one of its factors is fashion”. He concluded his speech by signalling the necessity of “educating children and village inhabitants to the importance of their culture”. The fashion show also comprised of a documentary, of dancing and singing intermissions, such as “Mingma Lepcha and Band”.
All designers, models and Lepcha community workers were awarded with a certificate. Ongden Tshering Lepcha, SLYA President, was also present.