Monday, March 31, 2008

Tibet trouble stirs up Indian fashion week

MUMBAI (Reuters Life!) - Unrest in Tibet is stirring up the fashion world of neighboring India, with a leading designer dedicating his show at one of India's premier fashion events to peace in the remote Himalayan region.
Sonam Dubal's "Trailing the River Goddess" collection at the Lakme Fashion Week drew inspiration from three rivers -- Mekong, Brahmaputra and Nile -- and their role as cradles of civilization.

Tibet's glaciers and snowy highlands feed the Brahmaputra and Mekong rivers. Since peaceful demonstrations turned into a citywide riot in Lhasa on March 14, anti-Chinese protests have broken out in other parts of China inhabited by ethnic Tibetans.

"Though I'm not at the centre of the violence, reading about it has pained my heart," Dubal said at the show on Sunday. "This is my initiative to spread the word that violence leads us only to destruction.

"I feel we all should do something to propagate the message of peace in this grim hour for Tibet."

Dubal's models walked down the runway in flowing kaftans, hand-printed dresses and short embroidered jackets in shades of blue and brown.

The Olympic flame was welcomed by cheering children in Beijing on Monday, for the symbolic start of a domestic and international relay China's government had hoped would symbolize national unity ahead of the Games in August.

Instead, China finds itself trying to deflect criticism over its policies in Tibet and its response to unrest there, and could face the prospect of weeks of protests as the Olympic flame circles the globe.

"Tibet is bleeding and we should pray for peace even though we may not be affected by their problems," Dubal said. "It is peace we need, not bloody massacres and blame games."

Dubal is among 57 designers showing autumn/winter collections at the five-day Lakme Fashion Week that ends on Wednesday.

(Writing by Tony Tharakan; editing by Sophie Hardach)


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