Jigmi Wangdi

The ‘Inspired by Birds and Butterflies of Bhutan’ initiative is an ambitious project led by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Ecotourism Project.

This initiative is renowned for its commitment to integrating biodiversity conservation into Bhutan’s thriving tourism sector and operates under the purview of the Department of Tourism.

In a significant collaboration, the project partners with the Royal Textile Academy of Bhutan.

What sets this initiative apart is its groundbreaking nature. It brings together emerging local fashion designers and traditional weavers hailing from remote communities in Lhuentse, Trashigang, Pemagatshel, and Samdrup Jongkhar.

Local fashion designers and weavers from remote communities learnt techniques of natural dyeing and the creation of innovative motifs at a nine-day workshop in Lhuentse. Their garments will be used for a fashion show at the Royal Textile Academy in November

The Royal Textile Academy orchestrated an extensive nine-day training programme, focusing on the intricate techniques of natural dyeing and the creation of innovative motifs.

These motifs, deeply inspired by Bhutan’s incredibly diverse biodiversity and its roster of endangered species, including the country’s iconic butterfly, hornbill, white-bellied heron, elephants, and black-necked cranes, took center stage in the project.

The pinnacle of this training was the ‘Khoma Fashion Show,’ a platform that showcased the masterful craftsmanship of weavers who meticulously created Kira garments.

Concurrently, the designers, drawing inspiration from Bhutan’s rich avian and animal life, unveiled a selection of newly-crafted motifs that melded tradition with modernity.

The culmination of this remarkable journey will be the grand unveiling of the final collections during an eagerly-anticipated fashion show scheduled to grace the Royal Textile Academy this November.

The initiative bears a dual purpose: first, to unite the worlds of textile and tourism, propelling Bhutan onto the global stage. Secondly, it seeks to kindle awareness about Bhutan’s abundant biodiversity and the plight of endangered species, all woven intricately into the fabric of Bhutanese textile.

The aim is to inspire local weavers and budding designers to craft naturally-dyed weaves, which hold substantial value and demand in the global market.

Moreover, this initiative is a call to action for local textile weavers and fashion designers. It encourages them to draw inspiration from nature’s stories and the tapestry of biodiversity, seamlessly integrating these narratives into their creations.

By marrying tradition, conservation, and contemporary fashion, ‘Inspired by Birds and Butterflies of Bhutan’ serves as a beacon of innovation and sustainability in Bhutan’s cultural and ecological landscape.