'Cümenyie’—1st Jewellery Fashion Show in Nagaland on September 28
Vishu Rita Krocha
Kohima | September 23
Setting a new benchmark for the growing jewellery industry in Nagaland, Gutouch is on its way to create history by presenting Cümenyie’— the 1st Jewellery Fashion Show in Nagaland on September 28, 2019 at Ura Academy Hall, Kohima. The show will feature prominent personalities such as the Tetseo Sisters, Ruopfuzhano Whiso, Onen Nenty among several others and will be choreographed by supermodel Ketholeno Kense Vihienuo. Over the past years, Nagaland has seen a remarkable growth in this industry, with jewellery brands flourishing with their takes on amalgamating the modern with the traditional.
Below are three brands which have made a mark on the industry in the State.
Gutouch was born as a result of Gugu Kuotsu’s love for jewellery, who first learned to create them by breaking apart old jewellery pieces and recreating new ones out of it. Initially, she says the market was a challenge as she wasn’t sure whether people would buy her products.
However, she persisted in her passion to create fine jewelleries and handcrafted earrings, necklaces, bracelets, chokers, tiaras, hand designed pottery, brooches, handmade flowers and home decors, all of which are meticulously designed and created using simple tools.
She has participated in numerous national and international fairs and exhibitions and also taught many college students on jewellery making. Today, many of these students are pursuing the art. Her only concern is that designers shouldn’t wholly depend on the internet to make jewellery while emphasizing that “Nagas are so creative and we must use our own original idea and creativity.”
On the upcoming 1st Jewellery Fashion Show, she says, “I am doing this on zero balance and not from any sponsorship, but using all that I have saved to pull off this show.” “It’s also scary”, she adds, while also exuding excitement at the prospect of doing something different, inspiring future generations of jewellery designers.
Testament to how the jewellery business has been a stable avenue of enterprise here, there is Runway Nagaland, founded in 2011 by Nengneithem Hengna.
It began as a store to promote local artisans with a vision to promote ‘Made in Nagaland’ products and artisans. Eventually, it took to manufacturing their own brand that focuses on using locally available materials and utilising their skills.
Hengna says that her brand focuses on using “age old traditions, techniques and designs. “We also strive to contribute in strengthening our economy by bringing in more business in the state instead of importing goods from outside the state. It is also an attempt to preserve our art of making handmade jewellery and accessories which is very famous worldwide,” she adds.
Hengna realizes that the jewellery business was fast diminishing due to lack of market and proper procedures of business.
Which is why, she set up her accessories manufacturing unit and employed women and youth with the sole motive to pass on the knowledge to younger generations. Employing dropouts, widows, domestic helpers etc, she is proud to be able to give them a dignified career.
Runway Nagaland also has its own in-house brand called Goulu Tribal Jewelry (Accessories) and Kinep Weaves (Handloom) dedicated to making Nagaland handmade jewellery. ‘Goulu’ which means ‘treasure’ in Kuki dialect; their tribal jewellery are treasures passed on from generations, through which, they also wish to pass on tribal heritage.
Runway Nagaland has distinguished itself by bridging the gap between the traditional and modern through its handmade pieces.
“We faced lots of hardship and failures, but I was determined this industry will give employment and also generate revenue for the state,” Hengna expresses. “We have 22 artisans and 1 internal SHG group that we support,” she adds.
Runway Nagaland GTJ was selected as one of the 31 fabulous accessories brands (only brand selected from Northeast) by Cosmopolitan Editor, Nandini Bhalla for their ‘Big Accessories Edit’.
What started as a hobby by two friends— Dayana and Elika in 2013, D’ana was a weekend craft project which eventually turned into a business. With Dayana moving to Ireland in the year 2015, Elika now runs the show.
Elika says D'ana was inspired by their passion for wearing jewellery.
“We both loved wearing colorful and unique jewellery, so our collections are based on what we would wear, or we think any woman like us would love to wear. We have women wearing out jewellery from 2013, and it inspires us to do better every day. We don't compromise on quality, and we aim to give the best and reasonable prices to our customers.”
Like any other businesses, D’ana has had its own share of challenges even as she explains that “from a creative perspective, there are times when we do face creative blocks. It is not easy to come up with a new collection almost every two months.”
“There is also a lot of plagiarism that happens in the industry, which affects us at times, since we put a lot of effort into coming up with new designs. But we try and keep our head above the water and keep going”, she says.
D’ana’s collections can be viewed on Instagram at deeana_jewels and bought from www.instamojo.com/deeana_jewels.