Sonam Dubal for the ANT, EKA for the Looms of Ladakh, Countrymade for the ANT
New Delhi (India), November 29: Royal Enfield unveils its textile conservation project, “The Himalayan Knot”, a tribute to the intrinsic artistry and timeless heritage embedded in the fabric of the Himalayas. It is a large collaborative effort to bring together artisanal Himalayan communities, urban designers, creative practitioners, social organisations, and the rider community—all knotted together by a common thread of a Himalayan story and human creativity.
Local artisan members are engaged in hands-on collaboration with renowned designers to create capsule collections, tailored for the rider community and other customer segments. While rooted in living legacies and heritage crafts, these aim to generate consistent income for the local communities. The capsule collections will be available to order on https://store.royalenfield.com/newridingjackets/himalyanknot with all proceeds going back to the partner organisations.
For Royal Enfield, the mountains became its muse for motorcycles and explorations early on, but it is the resilience of the Himalayan cultures and communities that continue to inspire its social mission. As part of Royal Enfield’s social mission of partnering with 100 Himalayan communities, the Himalayan Knot brings to the fore sustainable textile traditions. It is an effort to pass on their intangible cultural heritage to future generations—and not just amongst their kin, but beyond through the global rider community.
“The Himalayan Knot embodies our dedication to safeguarding heritage, empowering communities, and sharing the unique artistry of the Himalayas with the world. Through this initiative, we aim to document, spotlight and present the Himalayan craftsmanship to the world in contemporary ways. We are working with communities on strengthening these sustainable textile traditions through training and skill enhancement while leveraging Royal Enfield’s global footprint to create market linkage for these crafts”, said Bidisha Dey, Executive Director, Eicher Group Foundation, Royal Enfield’s CSR arm.
Talking about Royal Enfield’s Social Mission, Siddhartha Lal, MD Eicher Motors Ltd said, “The Himalayan States account for 1 percent of CSR spend in the country compared to some of the other states that are over indexed on the funding. We wanted to work in areas where our hearts belong. The core of our Social Mission is working with communities in the Himalayas, our spiritual home, to help build resilience in the long-term. We are working on multiple ideas and projects in conservation, livelihoods and sustainable development to address issues such as over tourism and out-migration in both the Eastern and Western Himalayan regions.”
Beyond sharing their artistry, the communities reveal a wealth of traditional wisdom that has been central to maintaining the fine balance with their natural surroundings. Royal Enfield has also partnered with organisations like the Nature Conservation Foundation (NCF) and Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) to conserve pastoral lands and support Himalayan communities – the first to face the effects of climate change. Learning from such partnerships is embedded into the textile conservation project. For instance, the Himalayan Knot collection with Looms of Ladakh cooperative will first spotlight sheep wool before the coveted pashmina, as sheep are considered less destructive to pastures than pashmina goats.
A Himalayan exploration through the lens of textiles, the journey begins here with sheep wool from Ladakh and Eri silk and Bodo weaves from Assam bringing together partnerships and collaborations between EKA by Rina Singh & Looms of Ladakh for sheep wool collection; Action North East Trust (ANT), Assam with Sonam Dubal for Eri Silk collection and with Countrymade by Sushant Abrol for Bodo Weaves.
The Launch Event
The immersive launch event on November 17th, 2023, at Mukesh Mills, Mumbai, brought an evening of cultural celebration, insightful conversations, and sensory showcases, reflecting the ethos of The Himalayan Knot.
The Himalayan Knot launch event retraced the journey of the three capsule collections collaboratively created by EKA, Sonam Dubal and Countrymade with The Looms of Ladakh and The Action Northeast Trust through a mesmerising audio-visual performance by Omaggio Performing Company. Accentuating the natural sounds of the textile processes, the sonic experience brought together the mastery of sound design by Tejas Mangeshkar with traditional music from the Rolyangs (Ladakh) and Sifung Harimu Afad (BTR, Assam). Beyond its textile conservation project, the ‘Journeying Across The Himalayas‘ showcase, a part of the UNESCO x Royal Enfield partnership, presented the intangible cultural heritage of the Eastern Himalayas. From sights and sounds to tastes, mixologist and Darjeeling native Yangdup Lama crafted bespoke Himalayan cocktails to bring forth the spirit of the region through the evening.
More instances of community interactions unfolded at the event, where the local women running Royal Enfield’s Camp Kharu in Ladakh curated a culinary experience alongside renowned chef Prateek Sadhu of NAAR. The art exhibition included objects and artefacts from the homes and everyday lives of the artisanal communities and contributions by established photographers who worked as a team with the indigenous youth of Royal Enfield’s fellowship program with partner Green Hub.
The Himalayan Knot launch event was a convergence of art, culture, sustainability, and community empowerment, celebrating the Himalayas’ rich heritage and the artisans who shape it. As a platform facilitating meaningful interactions between Himalayan communities and individuals or organisations of influence, it displayed how Royal Enfield’s social mission thrives on fostering knowledge exchange and connections that transcend traditional boundaries.
On the backdrop of the immersive showcase, thoughtful conversations were moderated by Ms Bandana Tewari putting a spotlight on the stories of resilience and a celebration of the Himalayan spirit. Anthropologist and cultural researcher Dr Monisha Ahmed alongwith Jennifer Lang (ANT) & Abhilash Bahuguna (Looms of Ladakh) shed light on “Empowering communities through craft and culture” followed by dialogue on “Shaping Contemporary Fashion with Heritage Textiles” with designers Rina Singh, Sonam Dubal, Sushant Abrol with Smita Lasrado of Feat Artists & stylist Manglein S. Gangte followed by a conversation with Designer Prabal Gurung on “. The Timeless Spirit of the Himalayas”
GO NORTH. Royal Enfield X EKÁ for Looms of Ladakh: Sheep Wool
Designed by studio EKÁ for the Looms of Ladakh, the Himalayan Knot Ladakh sheep wool collection integrates traditional sheep wool practices with heritage-inspired hues and fresh silhouettes. Looms of Ladakh is a herder-artisan-led fashion brand of 400 women member-owners with a mission to upskill traditional artisans, nurture sustainable practices, and safeguard the textile traditions of Ladakh, all while crafting exquisite collectables that resonate with global audiences.
HOMECOMING. Royal Enfield x Sonam Dubal for The Action Northeast Trust: Eri Silk
In Assam, designer Sonam Dubal collaborates with The Ant (The Action Northeast Trust), building on the organisation’s progressive twists to tradition, resulting in an Eri silk collection tailored for Royal Enfield riders, inspired by the elements of life. The Ant (Action Northeast Trust) is a non-governmental organisation headquartered in Chirang District of Bodoland in western Assam. As part of its project initiatives, the Ant has developed an all-women weavers organisation and weaving centre at Chirang towards creating livelihood opportunities centred around Bodo weaving. What began as women’s empowerment through weaving took shape in Aagor, a renowned brand celebrated for contemporary designs.
COUNTRY ROAD. Royal Enfield x Countrymade for The North East Action Trust: Bodo Weaves
The ancient Bodo weaving tradition holds mystical origins and symbolic motifs inspired by nature. Designer Sushant Abrol, taking cues from the Bodo weaving style and motorcycle culture, merged traditional motifs with modern ideas. His collection, in collaboration with The Ant (The Action Northeast Trust) is a blend of heritage and innovation, which aims to create new opportunities for the community.
About Royal Enfield’s Social Mission
Royal Enfield’s social mission is geared towards partnering with 100 Himalayan communities, driving deep, long lasting and systemic change in how humans and nature interact and thrive. The goal is to also enable 1 million riders to take action towards regenerating landscapes and empowering the communities within them, thus forging the largest rider-led movement in sustainable exploration. Royal Enfield currently supports more than 50 projects across the Indian Himalayan region; these include promotion of rural sports and winter tourism in Ladakh, a network of homestays and green pitstops for travellers, waste management initiatives such as the Paryavaran Sakhi programme, engaging riders to document and promote the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Himalayan communities in a unique partnership with
UNESCO, youth fellowships such as the Green Hub Fellowship and the Responsible Travel Fellowship, and creating an eco-system aimed at facilitating the artisan-herders of Ladakh’s pastoral communities.
About Royal Enfield
The oldest motorcycle brand in continuous production, Royal Enfield has created beautifully crafted motorcycles since 1901. From its British roots, a manufacturing plant was established in Madras in 1955, a foothold from which Royal Enfield spearheaded the growth of India’s mid-sized two-wheeler segment. Royal Enfields are engaging, uncomplicated, accessible, and fun to ride; a vehicle for exploration and self-expression. It’s an approach the brand calls Pure Motorcycling.
Royal Enfield’s premium line-up includes the stylish Hunter 350, the timeless Classic 350, the Meteor 350 cruiser, the 650 parallel twin motorcycles – New Super Meteor 650, Interceptor 650 and Continental GT 650. The adventure motorcycles – Himalayan adventure tourer and the Scram 411 ADV Crossover, and the iconic Bullet 350. Riders and a passionate community are fostered with a rich profusion of events at a local, regional and international level. Most notable are Rider Mania, an annual gathering of thousands of Royal Enfield enthusiasts in Goa, and the Himalayan Odyssey, a yearly pilgrimage over some of the toughest terrain and highest mountain passes.
A division of Eicher Motors Limited, Royal Enfield operates through more than 2050 stores across all major cities and towns in India and through nearly 1150+ touchpoints in more than 60 countries around the globe. Royal Enfield also has two world-class technical centres, in Bruntingthorpe, UK, and in Chennai, India. The company’s two state-of-the-art production facilities are located at Oragadam and Vallam Vadagal, near Chennai. Across the world, Royal Enfield has five modern CKD assembly facilities in Nepal, Brazil, Thailand, Argentina and Colombia. With more than 35% CAGR for the last 5 years, Royal Enfield is the leader in the global mid-size motorcycle market.
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