Designer Shivam Punjya of behno from India exchanged with artisans Fafine Niutao I Aotearoa from Tuvalu to create a bespoke look for The Commonwealth Fashion Exchange - an initiative for established and emerging fashion talent from across the Commonwealth’s 53 countries to showcase the power and potential of artisan fashion skills to deliver new networks, trade links and highlight sustainability.
behno originated a signature style for the brand that combines innovative textiles with strong masculine tailoring. For the Fashion Exchange, behno has created a repurposed wool coat (Woolmark certified) featuring Indian mirror-work and border and grid beadwork, and a sheer dress made from remnants of blue silk organza, embellished with Swarovski upcycled crystals, and scattered with black crochet ‘kolose’ panels. Five women from Tuvalu, artisans from a cooperative called Fafine Niutao I Aotearoa, spent a month creating the panels, using a crochet technique that is particularly intricate and popular in the region.
The project was launched by Commonwealth Secretary General the Rt Hon Patricia Scotland and Livia Firth, founder of sustainability consultancy Eco-Age and supported by Swarovski, The Woolmark Company and MATCHESFASHION.COM.