We have all heard of Tenzing Chakma, a coveted fashion designer of our country. But do we know his story? On this very special day, August 9, 2020 -- International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples, we should familiarise ourselves with the gem that we have amongst ourselves.
Tenzing was born in Rangamati. Growing up amongst all the scenic beauty, he wished to somehow incorporate the splendour of his childhood days into his future field of work.
With such a unique motivation, Tenzing aspired to be a fashion designer. And so, he went abroad in 1997, to a neighbouring country and took special lessons in his chosen field of study. Upon returning in 2000, he began his journey with the fashion brand, "Sozpodor".
"Sozpodor has a special meaning in our Chakma language, it refers to an assembly of all sorts of weaving tools in one place," said Tenzing.
Upon returning, his vision was very clear. He wanted to work with unique textiles of the indigenous peoples, especially Bein from the hill tracts region, and highlight it to the world audience.
"It was really depressing to notice that people were losing their originality all over the world. I wanted to revive some of it in my own way. Chakma people once used to wear Hadi and Pinon regularly to weddings. But somehow, that tradition got lost and they shifted to wearing sari. I tried to re-introduce our traditional attire with a new and attractive flare. Now, most Chakmas have gone back to wearing their traditional clothes, particularly on special occasions. And I am proud of this," stated the designer.
With 20 years of designing experience under his belt, Tezning Chakma has come a long way. Today, he designs fusion wear for the masses, with hints of ethnic elements attached to each of his designs.
"All my designs are wearable. I promote both local, traditional wear, as well as fusion wear. But for the latter, I try to incorporate and highlight elements of my past and traditions as well. This year, to celebrate International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples, I have collaborated again with Hill Valley Productions, another famous name in our region, for a special photoshoot on the authentic wear of the Chakma and Marma people.
"I really hope people will appreciate the beauty that we have tried to portray," Tenzing said.
Photos: Hill Valley Production
Models: Auntik Dewan, Nila Chakma
Wardrobe: Authentic Chakma and Marma Wear