You have a very interesting life story – India, London
and now New York. Could you fill us more on how it all happened?
I guess you can say one of the lucky few when it comes to the
issue of study. Well, I was selected at the age of nine from
Bylakuppe, South India to study abroad in the UK. I was lucky
to be brought up under a special organization that provided
education overseas for the poor. So I grew up with kids from
countries like India, Nepal, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Thailand and
the West Bank. I learned a lot about their culture and background.
I took on Fashion Design and Business at the London College
of Fashion. After completion, I was taken up by Komodo, a London-based
Fashion Company. During my five years there, I learned a lot
in the real world of the rag trade. Together with the owner
of Komodo, I launched the ‘Tibet Dreams' label, which
sold internationally for five years. Two years ago opened the
first Tibet store in London.
I am always inspired by Tibet. I use a lot of Tibetan art
for my prints, embroideries and patchworks. I work with few
factories where old methods or techniques are still used to
produce the fabric (while respecting the environment) and
where the business helps generate the local economy.
Is there a particular age group that you clothes are aimed
for and why is that so?
My designs, from the beginning, have always been aimed at people
who are conscious about where their products come from and who
is involved in making them. I have had people of all ages interested
in my designs, and both men and women. You recently opened a
show in New York for the Tibetan community. As one of the first
Tibetan fashion designers, tell us some of the challenges that
you face? And, also, tell us some about the reception of your
ideas from the community?
It was the first show in New York that I have done and was
especially aimed at the Tibetan community. The feedback was
great. And so was the turnout. I have done, on previous occasions,
fashion shows in Canada, England, Switzerland and India. It's
always a pleasure to display my work in front of our own people
to encourage them and also to show them that there are designs
out there that we can wear to show what we believe in. Strong,
subtle or funny, and yet still fashionable. It's always a challenge
to be as creative, but above all it’s fun and exciting
to see what I can come up with next.Tell us about the inspiration
for your work and the kind of materials you work with and also
where these clothes are made
I am always inspired by Tibet. I use a lot of Tibetan art for
my prints, embroideries and patchworks. I work with few factories
where old methods or techniques are still used to produce the
fabric (while respecting the environment) and where the business
helps generate the local economy. I have always used natural
fabric like hemp, cotton, linen and wool. I don't target a certain
A lot of our readers would like to know where they could
go to buy your clothes. Could you tell them where they are available
and the price range they are looking at?
My designs are currently sold in Pema New York and Tibet Boutique.
I will also be launching a new web site, pemanewyork.com, very
soon where people can purchase goods from wherever they may
Also, interestingly, the football team that you have been
involved. Something on that?
Along with the Fashion Show it was great to invite the UK Tibet
soccer team for the first time to play with the Boston and New
York Tibet teams. Once again it’s wonderful to be able
to invite Tibetans from different community across the globe
to join hands and enjoy each other’s company.
Pema New York will be forthcoming at www.pemanewyork.com