DESIGN: Bhutanese textiles have seen many transformations over the span of a few decades.

Kira (dress for women) today is not what it traditionally used to me.  They come in designs of all kinds.

Tshering Choden, 28, is one of the many designers in Thimphu who is experimenting with different kira and gho (dress for men) designs.  She owns a handicraft shop at Namgay Heritage Hotel, known as Chimmi House of Design.

More than a year in the business, Tshering Choden has come up with different modern designs for hats, bags, casual jackets and scarves.  There are mannequins dressed in elegant yathra jackets.  There are trooper hats for children and adults in one corner of the shop, modern jackets and bags galore in another.

“These jackets can be worn with our traditional dress as well,” Tshering Choden said.  Her customers range from elite classes to young people and children.

It was Tshering Choden’s mother, who introduced her to the art of weaving, which exposed her to patterns and different designs. “I was surrounded by my mother’s weavers when I was growing up. So I know a lot about different fabrics in the country.”

Tshering Choden first tried her hand at design after she graduated from college in 2009.  A local magazine covered her collection.

“When I look at myself today, I can see a marked growth,” she said.  She travels a lot to buy different high-quality yarn.

“We’re living in creative era,” Tshering Choden said. “We have to constantly work to create better works of art.”

Tropper hat at Chhimi’s

Tshering Choden has about 90 people working with her. “I try to bring new and innovative ideas through modern designs by using Bhutanese textiles.”

Tshering Dolkar, 22, is a college student, who spends endless hours in her room, trying to come up with different textile designs.

“I’ve made a few western dresses with the help of online tutorials,” Tshering Dolkar said. “My friends encouraged me to do more of such design works. I have a long way to go.”

By Thinley Zangmo


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