Designer Jenjum Gadi raises awareness about the Northeast through his latest collection

It has been a long journey from a nondescript village in the West Siang district of Arunachal Pradesh to Lutyens’ Delhi. But Northeast designer Jenjum Gadi is not complaining, busy as he is, giving finishing touches to his brand new collection which would be showcased in a fashion week in twin cities of the United States.

“It has been a rollercoaster ride,” says Jenjum, whose brand epitomises Indo-Western dresses for cosmopolitan women.

Jenjum made it on his own in the world of couture where intense rivalry, charges of plagiarism and at times colleagues meeting you like long-lost friends only to later bitch behind your back often vitiate the atmosphere.

And on top of it Delhi has become notorious for racial attacks on people of the Northeast.

“Unfortunately, people belonging to the Northeast have been at the receiving end of racial attacks in Delhi. Thankfully, I never faced discrimination while pursuing fashion course in the city. Even my compatriots in the fashion industry never made me feel unwanted. But the discrimination is there as educated people feign ignorance about the Northeast. People in big cities recognise a talented guy only if he has captured the hearts and minds of Westerners.”

This is perhaps the reason why Jenjum decided that in the “Splendid Indian Closet” show in the U.S. next month he will speak up for racial attack victims, including Nido Tania, a fellow Arunachali, who died after being roughed up by shopkeepers at Lajpat Nagar.

“I will be implicitly sending the message across. Models will sport tribal accessories to highlight the fact that racial discrimination against the people from the Northeast needs to be stopped.”

Through this show, the 32-year-old also seeks to create awareness among Non Resident Indians as well as American citizens that Arunachal Pradesh has a vibrant culture and is blessed with scenic beauty.

“I am hopeful that my eight-minute show at Los Angeles would grab eyeballs. It would increase my visibility internationally. I am targeting not just the NRIs but also foreigners. U.S. is a big platform and I know I am taking a risk.”

Ideally, he would have liked female modelsfrom his State to have walked the ramp there but cannot afford the costs.

He will showcase garments worn in big cities like New York or Delhi and use accessories used by the tribal communities of his State.

Jenjum does not believe in doing things half-heartedly. This is the reason why he discontinued his B.A. (pass) at Shivaji College of Delhi University and joined Wigen and Leigh College, a decision his folks back home would have straightaway rejected. Luckily for him, things started following in place as he found the course stimulating and ended up topping his class.