Expo and symposium on sustainable Indian fashion opens at MIA
December 12 2019 12:16 AM
MIA  Expo
P Kumaran, Aisha al-Attiya, and Marielou Phillips at the opening of the new initiative by QM and Caravane Earth yesterday at MIA. PICTURES: Jayan Orma

A three-day exhibition and symposium on sustainable Indian fashion, which forms part of Qatar – India 2019 Year of Culture, opened yesterday at the Museum of Islamic Art (MIA).
This new initiative, presented by Qatar Museums (QM) and Caravane Earth, an international movement for social, cultural and ecological transformation, focuses on sustainability, heritage, and traditional craftsmanship.
“I see many artisans, designers from India who are showcasing for us the variety and depth of the kind of talent that is in the textile sector in India,” Indian ambassador P Kumaran said in his speech at the event, which was attended by QM’s Years of Culture head Aisha al-Attiya and Marielou Phillips from Caravane Earth.
The exhibition is displaying a curated selection of contemporary Indian fashion and textiles by some of the renowned artisans and designers from India, including PL Bhanumurthy for Vimor Foundation, Renuka Jalan for Chola, Taslim for Ode to Odd, Moideen Hizqeel for 11.11, Dinesh Vankar for Injiri, Taj Mohamed for Urvashi Kaur, and Irshad Annad for Khanijo.
The envoy, who led the inauguration, along with QM and Caravane Earth officials, noted that India’s textile tradition goes back 5,000 years from the Indus valley civilisation.
He said the kind of diversity (of India’s textile tradition) is mind-boggling whether regional or the kind of material, motifs and themes used. It is also puzzling how they reflect various socio-cultural, socio-religious traditions in different parts of the country, and how they are related to Indian festivals, among others.
“It is also wonderful that this theme is being linked to sustainability and sustainable development, which is a very important and hot topic these days,” Kumaran said.
“I am particularly pleased that we found the way to bring the two together and the element of sustainability in the way we design our fabrics and to increase awareness about sustainable development, given the kind of damage that is caused to the atmosphere by pollution and the kind of chemicals that are used in terms of taking care of maintaining these fabrics,” he added.
Part of the initiative includes a symposium (open to the public), scheduled today (Dec 12) from 10am to 3pm at MIA, featuring notable speakers from the fashion industry, sustainability activists, and cultural institutions from India and Qatar, along with a film screening by Doha Film Institute.
A panel discussion, moderated by sustainability activist and former Vogue India editor-at-large Bandana Tewari, puts a spotlight on themes such as the history of Abaya and traditional Qatari wear, building a sustainable global brand, and the textile heritage of Qatar and India.
Some of the speakers include National Museum of Qatar associate curator Tania al-Majid, Vimor Foundation head Pavitra Muddaya, and QMs Education director Dr Jelena Trkulja.

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