Thigma, Nambu et al: How is Stanzin Palmo's line-up introducing homegrown thought into the global fashion aesthetic?
Stanzin Palmo’s label Zilzom is doing the unthinkable; the brand is seamlessly bridging the gap between homegrown Ladakhi fashion sensibilities and the global fashion movements. Palmo’s emphasis on local craftsmanship and her usage of traditional ethnic Ladakhi textiles like Pashmina and Goncha has ushered in a completely new look, one that is globally appealing but also tethered to its ethnic roots. Palmo just showcased her line-up at the Blenders Pride Fashion Tour and we caught up with the busy, young designer to get to know her plans a little better:
Tell us about your newest collection
Between the Earth and Sky is actually inspired by the beauty of Ladakh, everything that falls between the earth and sky, the flora and fauna, the birds. I've picked up on one element of nature particularly, and that are the clouds of Ladakh, I've worked on the idea. We've done some digital prints, giving it an Oriental touch, combining that with tie-resistant dye.
Tell us about the fabrics you’re using
This showcase was about the pride associated with our craft so I've used all the craft techniques we find in Ladakh, as much as I could. For example, one of the classics in my collection is always the pashmina, that with embroidery has never been done before. So for this, a few Ladakhi artisans had worked on the shawls, then there's the tie-resist dye which is actually an ancient technique which has been used in Ladakh for years, and there it's called thigma. The resist part is when you dye the threads the tie doesn't soak in. We've used that on many of my capes and jackets and dresses. We've used the textile of Ladakh called Nambu, usually found in our traditional garments, which I've used in coats, jackets.
How did you get your start as a designer?
I was a medical student, and back at home, of course, everyone wants you to be a doctor or in a government job, like any other parent. But my passion always lay somewhere else, I was very inclined to art, I used to paint a lot in school, as the years passed, it always led to this, you know. I applied for NIFT and I got in
Do you enjoy the fashion industry in the country right now?
I think it’s brilliant. Everyone is looking for innovation and something new, there’s a different language in fashion, there are so many techniques, there are so many facets of sustainable fashion, there’s eco-fashion. It gives you space to really explore, it keeps you going.
Do you have any favourites in the global fashion scene?
There are so many designers I like, but in particularly I'd say Dolce & Gabbana although they have been under controversial light when the China thing happened; but I love their silhouettes and the whole floral collection
One basic thing you always have in your closet
A white tee and a white shirt because they go with everything!
What are you working on now?
I was really occupied with this, I think I'll take some time for myself!
A tip for aspiring designers?
Follow what you heart tells you to do, go with your instinct because that's how you'll know what you want to do.