Nagaland forays into high fashion with MONGKEN ‘My Beloved’
In a pioneering move towards consolidation of intellectual patenting and property rights on cultural heritage, the Government of Nagaland launched the brand Mongken, a handholding initiative of the Department for Development of Underdeveloped Areas (DUDA) Nagaland, in partnership with TRIFED, Union Ministry of Tribal Affairs (MOTA) to document the traditional patterns and motifs among the Nagas in the Eastern Nagaland Region.
Mongken was officially launched by Mr. CM Chang, Minister for Forest, Environment & Climate Change, and Justice & Law, Government of Nagaland in the presence of Mr. Pravir Krishna, Managing Director of TRIFED, Union Ministry of MOTA, Mr. Temjen Imna Along Minister for Higher and Technical &Tribal Affairs, Government of Nagaland, Mr. Toshi Wungtung, SCERT and IPR, and Mr. Bongkhao Konyak, Advisor, DUDA, Mr. KG Kenye, MP, Rajya Sabha, and Mr. L Kire, Additional Chief Secretary, Government of Nagaland. The launch was held at the Holiday Inn, Aerocity, New Delhi, the 28th of January, 2020.
Various diplomats from across the globe attended the launch. Most prominent attendees from the international community are H.E Shin Bongkil, Ambassador, Republic of South Korea, Mr. Dato Paduka Haji Sidek Ali, High Commissioner, Brunei High Commission and Diplomats from Japan, Taiwan, and Estonian Embassy.
The event also saw the release of the Mongken catalogue by renowned Naga Fashion Designer Mr. Atsu Sekhose and Minister CM Chang.
Dr. Anungla Imdong Phom, Joint Director, DUDA, Government of Nagaland, in her introductory remarks, said that Mongken is to create economic opportunities for local designers, skilled artisans, and craftsmen from Nagaland, special focus on underdeveloped regions in Nagaland. She maintained that the garment sector remains a key area for the state, with immense potential and marketability due to its colourful, exotic motifs and patterns. Mongken would help in patenting these traditional patterns and motifs for conservation and preservation. It will also handle copyright infringement on digital platforms. She also highlighted that Mongken can help in upskilling local weavers and enthusiastic youths in taking up this career path as skilled weavers.
Mongken encourages accountability by imbibing traditional sensibilities of storytelling and respectfulness, an important part of the design and motif of every traditional Naga garment woven by traditional artisans and weavers. Therefore, Mongken garments would reflect these cultural sensibilities, at the same time, made wearable for everyday wear by seamlessly incorporating it into the modern fashion culture.
Lastly, Dr. Anungla emphasised that Mongken will function as a mode through which local products can be marketed by participating in festivals, trade expos organized by TRIFED and other similar agencies. The Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India Ltd. (TRIFED) under MOTA will promote it as a collaborative venture while the apparel and clothing line of Mongken will be promoted through the Tribes India outlets across the country.
Attendees lauded the initiative of DUDA as timely and much-needed effort to boost the local economy and offer the world the beautiful traditional patterns and motifs of the Nagas. Designer Atsu Sekhose particularly appreciated the initiative as an important response to the urgency of the time to enter the competitive world of garment and apparel production for the Nagas.
Ms. Sonalika Sahay hosted the launch. The four participating designers were Ms. Asen Longkumer, Mr. Tarep Longkumer, Ms. A. Ngamnoi Konyak and Ms. Seyie Zecho. Their creations were inspired by designs and motifs used among the six Naga tribes of Eastern Nagaland Region – The Konyak, The Chang, The Phom, The Yimchunger, The Sangtam and The Khiamniungan. Ms. Esther Jamir, Top model/ Choreographer, directed the show. CoreConxept Entertainment managed the event.