Returning to the valley after two years of lockdowns, the Ziro Festival of Music, one of India's biggest music festivals, saw a lineup of some established as well as upcoming singers and musicians, with a special focus on the North East talent. Along with a gamut of national and international artistes, the festival, which concluded on 2 October, also saw a variety of fashion trends. While most attendees came prepared in colourful gumboots and raincoats due to rain predictions, the sunny weather left nothing to complain about. And like the weather, the festival fashion was also unpredictable.
While some opted for comfort in shorts and T-shirts, others put their best foot forward dressed in chic, sometimes branded, often thrifted clothes. Men showed their love for patterned shirts while women proved that it's always better to go for individual style, rather than follow trends. Think checks on checks, pattern on pattern, and monotone looks that were, above everything, comfy enough for a festival that demands a lot of walking.
Check out some of the best looks from Ziro Festival of Music 2022:
The inspiration behind the outfit of Nagaland-based professor Thethem Hangshing (pictured above) was “to be comfortable and look elegant”. She wore a bright floral backless crop top that was hard to miss in a crowd. After sundown, she layered the look with a sheer floral overlay. “I thrifted it in Nagaland for just ₹150!”
Meghalaya-based entrepreneur Alia Sangma attended the third day of the festival in a black fringed crop top and a leather skirt with a slit. She accessorised the outfit with statement white knee-high boots for a “cool and glam look”.
Itanagar's Assaya Umbrey wanted to “clash patterns” with her plaid mini skirt and tweed jacket that she paired with a white balloon-sleeved shirt. “I thought the look was cute and I felt comfortable in it, the two things you need for an outdoor festival ‘fit',” she said. Umbrey wore grey sneakers and a carried a brown handbag.
Denium, a student from Arunachal Pradesh, was prepared for the uncertain weather at Ziro, come rain or the chills. She wore a white vintage blouse overlaid with a thrifted knit vest. She completed the look with black bermuda shorts, a hat to match her top, and a tote bag to match her sunset-orange hair. “I wanted to feel comfortable yet look like myself," she said.
Abin Tok, who works in Ziro's town planning department, went for a neutral palette to stand out. He paired his grey knit sweater and trousers with a Safari-style sleeveless jacket and a puffer jacket in the same shade tied at the waist. “I wanted to be prepared for the chilly winds, but also have the option of taking the layers off," he said. "Also, I like wearing neutrals.”
Manipur’s state music icon Mangka Mayanglambam gave the traditional Manipuri outfit her own contemporary touch. For her performance on the third day of the festival, the artiste wore a set of Manipuri handloom attire consisting fhurit (top), ngaksham leiteng (jewellery), phenek mayek naibi (traditional sarong worn by Meitei women in Manipur), ajenglei (Manipuri headdress consisting 80-100 brass strips, worn by goddesses, female royalties, dancers, and Meitei brides), and urikshet (white feather). She was styled by Rebika Maibam and was wearing creations by Arbin Tonjam.
Kago Kanyo, a student from Ziro, brought back old-school style with a checked dress that she layered with an oversized shirt to keep the chill at bay. She accessorised the look with oversized glasses, knee-high socks and platform loafers.
Friends and business partners Mimi Ruivah and Chonbeni Shitri twinned at the festival in monotone outfits. While Ruivah wore a cutout maxi dress with a black cardigan thrown over her shoulders, and black boots and an off-white shoulder bag, Shitri went rock-chic with her white printed T-shirt, black skorts, and knee-high leather boots with a mini sling bag.
Neelam Yajir’s dress for the evening was inspired by the cottagecore movement. “I am wearing a crocheted dress that I made. It took me about one month to get the fit and the design right,” she said.
“I wanted to show people that it’s okay to experiment with your style and outfits and make a statement, even if you don’t get some right,” said Assam based actress Priyanka Baishya of her look. She wore a Tom and Jerry printed pair of denims “cause that’s my vibe” and paired it with a checkered bralette, denim jacket, and a Dior Saddle bag.
Tawang-based restaurateur Sherab Sangmu ticked both boxes: colours and pattern. She layered her basic white long shirt with a statement patchwork jacket. “I like balancing neutrals with a pop of colours. It’s an easy way to make a statement when you’re in a crowd.” She accessorised the look with the Gucci Horsebit bag and knee-high black boots.
Sung Doni, who had set up a food stall at the festival with her sister, pulled off a traditional look. She paired her mopin, a traditional dress worn by the Galo tribe of Arunachal Pradesh, with a chunky golden belt. She also took the traditional route with her accessories but finished the look with platform boots.