This emerging designer says if you love being creative and you are passionate about fashion, we can also design western attires
Contributed by Sangay Rabten
With rapidly approaching conscious change in the fashion industry, individuals are opting for new and comfortable designs. The youth today are following new trends and western attires are a part of the movement.
However, despite the growing trend, it has been observed that Bhutan has also become overly dependent on imported dresses.
The fashion supply chain environment in COVID and post-COVID in the country witnessed tremendous increments in costs. The shipping cost of clothes and raw material for designers costs have increased, specifically the cost of fabrics restricted availability of western style designs.This makes the case for fashion innovation even more compelling and ethically pressing.
Nonetheless, what is interesting is that designers or labels both new and established are dedicating themselves to make our own “made in Bhutan” apparels.
Clothing and apparel designers are today working to develop innovative methods to reduce imports of fashionable clothes which are beneficial to the country. One such genuine effort is made by Twinning Attire, a local garment designer firm based in Thimphu.
A home-based garment design firm, Twining Attire based in Olakha, Thimphu stresses in meeting the needs modern fashion individuals. The owner of the firm, Choney Dema, 33, from Zhemgang said she could be the only Bhutanese western apparel designer in the country.
Inspired by her friends, Choney started her business in 2021 with zero investment and is the only designer whose designs featured in the recent Miss Bhutan Pageant. Today, Choney stands among one of the top brands in fashion in the country and liked by many fashion aficionados.
Famous for timeless designs, trademark suits and her home designed dresses are in demand by Bhutanese models. Getting famous among the today’s youths as a fashion designer, Choney has become a true home-bred epitome of creativity.
A mother of one child with no formal training in western cloth designing, Choney wove a career for herself equipped with her passion. She sometimes watches cutting and stitching techniques in YouTube to keep herself abreast of the trends.
Choney said, “There is high demand for western fashion designer clothes but there are no Bhutanese designers. Most of the fashion lovers do online shopping and a majority buy imported garments.”
She said that waiting for imported dresses consumes time and sometimes there are duplications and size doesn’t fit as ordered. “Why can’t we make ourselves? I want to reduce overdependence in the global fashion supply chain,” she said.
Managing her passion for fashion design coupled with domestic work and support of her husband, friends, and family, Choney wants to promote made-in-Bhutan western apparels at trendy and affordable costs.
While she designs pre-ordered party-tops, shirts and skirts, Choney mostly designs gowns which are in high trend and demand. With no specific sketches, the patterns of Choney’s designs are ball gowns, backless and fitted gowns. In addition, crop tops, mini-skirts, signature gowns and some other apparel are also her forte.
Her all-season couture is offered at affordable price, especially targeted for middle income class people. In summer, she designs thin and long skirts. Yathra and leather jackets are designed for winter season.
Though, Twining Attire was solely set up out of her passion to offer choices for mothers and babies and for those who wish to twin themselves during birthdays and some occasions, Choney also wants to support her family and she earned about Nu 0.1million last year.
The customers for her brands are movie actors, singers, Tiktokers, models and fashion inclined youths. Her cozy trends are taken by others’ as well for posing for photo-shoots. “There has been no complaint on my costumes till date. Little error in stitching is redone for free,” Choney said, adding her designs are even appraised by Indians.
As an emerging designer, for visibility Choney consider social media as the perfect place for to portray her creations. Moreover, she says it’s become an easily accessible platform where anyone can consume and contribute to fashion making as it easier for users to become recognizable figures.
However, Choney’s faces challenges too, especially in procuring her fabrics. She wishes that there are designated fabric shops in Bhutan. Till now, she has been importing little fabrics from Delhi, India.
Though she confesses her weakness in finishing products she said she is good at cutting. “I can cut in any shape and size.”
As a way forward, Choney said that she wants to improve sewing and cutting machineries in future. She hopes to blend embroidery in her designs. “I also want to explore markets beyond Bhutan.”
She also wishes to open a platform for Bhutanese girls. She said there is need for platform like fashion shows and modeling for Bhutanese girls who are beautiful and capable.
She has a staunch message that even Bhutanese can also design western attires.
“If you love being creative and you are passionate about fashion, a career in fashion designing will suit you the best,” she said.
He is a reporter with Business Bhutan