Gen-Next Designer Stanzin Palmo’s Guide To Ladakh’s Vibrant Textiles

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Text by Rushmika Banerjee

It could be troublesome to stipulate the Indian vogue story in a single phrase at this time. Is it trendy minimalism or refined maximalism? Or luxe nostalgia, perhaps? The design area is repeatedly being altered, norms are being challenged and Indian Kitsch has been changed by trendy sustainability. The Indian vogue atmosphere that was majorly concentrated amongst metropolises is slowly, however steadily, traversing to discreet corners of the nation. Today, Indian textiles thrive on sensible design interventions and a conscious group that help the native weave and the weavers. Ladakh-based label Zilzom based by designer Stanzin Palmo is an ideal instance of how a creator can help a small-scale economic system with their design imaginative and prescient.

26-year-old Palmo’s label Zilzom has been shortlisted this yr for Lakmé Fashion Week Winter/Festive 2019 Gen Next programme this yr, together with labels reminiscent of Amaaré by Sahib Bhatia, Anatomy by Gaurav, Little Things Studio by Ankita Srivastava, Noié Noéi by Akanksha Aggarwal and Ura Maku by Manjushree Saikia. What makes Zilzom stand aside? The vibrant traditions and narratives of Ladakh which can be woven into her designs.

Born in Ladakh, Palmo had moved to New Delhi to review design at NIIFT, Delhi, the place she briefly labored with designer Sonal Verma of Rara Avis for her commencement venture. After she completed her commencement, she was referred to as to Ladakh for a authorities venture of girls’s talent growth, in affiliation with Looms of Ladakh. Palmo recollects, “I had trained around 40-50 women artisans at Looms of Ladakh between the age group of 25-65. While training these artisans, I learnt how to manage and distribute work according to their skills and potential. I also realised that respecting and appreciating their work results in higher productivity and efficient time management. During this time, as we worked on the natural fibres available in Ladakh, it gave me an insight into the technicalities of the fibre and its exclusivity and importance in today’s time. At the time, I did not know that Ladakh Pashmina fibre is the finest in the world at 12-15 microns.”

An opportunity choice to showcase her work on the Naropa competition of Ladakh in 2016 opened new doorways for Palmo and set the wheels in movement. “That year, a local fashion show for international buyers was organised at the Naropa festival in Ladakh. I didn’t know then that Ladakh was ready for modern fashion, so I went there just to see the response. To my surprise, I received great reviews for my work. That’s when I knew that there is immense scope in my hometown and I was certain that I want to launch my own label in Ladakh,” says Palmo. The title Zilzom is a tribute to Ladakh’s noblewoman, Shema Zilzom, who stood in opposition to the strict social norms and ordains of her time. Palmo was deeply impressed by her to create collections that result in adjustments in common patterns and designs. “Zilzom has multiple interpretations, but for me, it means all the positive energy in one place.”

Ladakh comes with its share of professionals and cons, the foremost con being restricted accessibility to manufacturing supplies. “I have to fly to Delhi twice a year to collect all the basic requirements. Ladakh is only functional for 6-7 months in the year. In winter, it is also not practical to operate as the temperature drops below zero degrees.” Having mentioned that, Palmo is just not trying to transfer her core manufacturing to a different metropolis. “I feel that the location favours my business, but I do want to expand, as I want to be functional during the peak winters as well. It is my dream to have my label in multi-brand stores in both India as well as abroad,” concludes Palmo.

Since Palmo’s aesthetic will be finest described as a neoclassical spin to heritage textiles, we requested the designer to coach us concerning the native weaves, processes and the way she is empowering people.


Weaving in Ladakh takes place on the handloom which can also be referred to as the fly shuttle loom. For weaving, the yarns are separated for warp and weft. It is organized and stuck on the loom relying on the design. Its takes a minimal of 12-15 labour days from fibre to cloth. For weaving, I work with the established weaving models in Ladakh reminiscent of Utpala and Superb Ladakh.


Pashmina is the golden fibre of Ladakh. It may be very wonderful, heat, and primarily comes from the Changthangi goat native to Ladakh. The fibre is collected throughout spring moulting and one goat produces roughly 80-170g of the fibre. It takes round three goats’ wool to make 1 woven scarf.

I supply the fibre from the Pashmina De-hairing plant of Changthang Pashmina Cooperative Society in Leh after which give it to the Zanskar Valley spinners for spinning. Spinning of the fibre solely takes place in winters when the ladies are usually not busy. It takes them round 7-10 days to spin 250 grams of the fibre.  I work with greater than 20 spinners within the winter season, after which the yarn is given for weaving.

Yak cloth

I’m additionally working with the yak fibre that can also be an necessary fibre of Ladakh. Since the outer coat of wool is coarse and heavy, it’s used to make rebo tents for the nomad group. The interior coat, nonetheless, is okay and mushy, measuring 21-25 microns in fibre thickness. It additionally has glorious insulating properties. I work on the yak fibre with related processes because the pashmina scarf. After weaving, it’s transformed into yak cloth or yak wool scarf. The yak cloth is then used for making jackets and coats.


Nambu is the material of Ladakh that dates again to the 12th century. Today there’s a cave portray at Saspol of ‘the weaver weaving on a foot loom’. Usually, the material is made up of wool and used primarily within the conventional gown generally known as goncha. I’m engaged on the material nambu to develop different clothes other than the standard apparel. I’m utilizing it for coats, jackets and different equipment.

Thigma (Resist tie-dye)

Thigma is once more seen in historic wall work at Alchi Monastery relationship again to 12th -13th century. Today, it’s nonetheless used within the conventional attire, footwear and belts, however with time, the craft is dying. I’m working with different consultants in Ladakh for this system. It is a sluggish course of and may’t be simply made. I’m utilizing the approach in clothes for my assortment on each wool (nambu) and silk.

Process:  The material is pinched and tightly tied with a thread to withstand the uptake of color. Both pure and chemical dye substances are used to color the material. After the dyeing course of is accomplished, the material is washed and rinsed to take away the additional dye and the tied threads are eliminated to disclose the un-dyed cloth beneath.

Gathers (Sul) :

The conventional Ladakhi gown (goncha) is an extended gown which stays open from the entrance and is secured with a hook. The high and the skirt are stitched collectively on the waist which has the gathers, often known as Sul. The gathers (sul) are handstitched horizontally utilizing a thread and needle. There are 5-6 parallel traces of sul that carry collectively the standard gown. Each and each sul is completed by hand because it requires precision work. I’m utilizing the gathers as my USP, since it’s an previous conventional approach. It creates an exquisite fall for the garment as effectively.