Archive for the ‘Nagaland’ Category

Chakhesang Naga | Naga Shawls

May 15, 2014

tetseo sisters fashion nagaland
Kuvelu Tetseo in Chi pi Khwu – the chief of chiefs’ shawl or the shawl of merit.

“Traditionally, it’s only to be worn by someone who has done something extraordinary or honorable.

In the old days, only a married couple who held the feast of merit for the entire village could wear this shawl. The rows of patterns are added in batches after consecutive feasts, and the embroidery on each set of patterns is stitched within a day before the sunset.

We wear it during our performances when we are representing our state or tribe. It generates curiosity and works as a conversation starter.”

Inputs from Mercy Tetseo.
Photographed at the night market in Kohima in December 2012.


Angami Man | Naga Shawls

May 13, 2014

street style nagaland
Angami Naga Man.

Photographed in December 2012 at the Hornbill Festival.

Eastern Naga Man

March 13, 2014

naga man street fashion nagaland india
Eastern Naga man. (Either Sangtam or Chang.) Is wearing a wild boar tusk necklace, warrior headgear with hornbill feather, body sash, and ivory armlets.

Photographed in December 2012 at the Hornbill Festival. Inputs from Mercy Tetseo.

Ao Naga | Naga Shawls

March 11, 2014

ao naga man

ao naga shawl
Ao Naga men.

Photographed in January 2013 in Mokokchung/Kohima.

Chakhesang Naga Woman

March 8, 2014

naga wedding dimapur
Mercy Tetseo. Chakhesang Naga. Likes Katie Melua and Sonnet 17 by Neruda.

“I’m wearing vintage floral print silk dress from my mom’s youth. She picked it up from a Burmese store in Dimapur in the late 70s. The necklace is a Khiamniungan tribe orange/rust beads usually worn by young women.”

Photographed at a wedding in Dimapur, Nagaland in January 2013.

Rengma Naga | Naga Shawls

March 5, 2014

Rengma naga shawl street fashion
Rengma Naga Man.

Photographed in December 2012 at the Hornbill Festival.

Chang Naga Men

February 20, 2014

Chang naga street style india

According to oral tradition, the Changs emerged from a place called Changsangmongko, and later settled at Changsang. The word Chang is said to have derived from the word chognu (banyan tree), after a mythical banyan tree that grew at the now-abandoned Changsang. Source

Photographed in December 2012 at the Hornbill Festival

Konyak Naga Man

February 6, 2014

konyak naga street style india
Typical Konyak Man. Is wearing earrings made out of deer horn, necklace made out of tiger teeth and brass heads. Rows of heads, colour combination of threads, and motif on the jacket are typically Konyak. Konyak is also the only Naga tribe that weaves beads.

“Head-hunting — one of the prominent feature among the Konyak. The custom of killing enemy and bringing the head was indicative of courage and pride in the past. The belief among our forefathers was that there was some magical power in the human skull. In the past, a heroic reception was accorded to a warrior who entered the village with the captured head of the enemy. The skull was tied in the log drum and dance and merry-making continued throughout the night. The main importance of taking a head is not the glory of the war but the gain of the magical forces inherent in the skull. The hang-over from such practice is noticed even now. You will sometimes find a man wearing brass heads round his neck. This practice is now as extinct as the dodo in Mauritius.” Source

Photographed in December 2012 at the Hornbill Festival // Inputs from Mercy Tetseo

Zeliang Naga Man

February 4, 2014

zeliang naga

zeliang naga

zeliang naga
Zeliang Naga man at the Hornbill Festival.

Is wearing leg paint made from rice flour, feather from a rooster’s tail on the head, and earrings made out of bamboo & wool.

“The Zeliang is the official name of the Zemi and Liangmei people in Nagaland. Some scholars have regarded these people as the last group of migrants from south-east Asia. The Zeilang Naga live primarily in the south-western part of Kohima district.” Source

Photographed in December 2012 // Inputs from Mercy Tetseo

Imlibenla | Miss Nagaland 2012

February 4, 2014

miss nagaland 2012 imlibenla jamir
17 year old. Arts student. Ao Naga. Lives in Mokokchung, Nagaland.

How did you end up in a beauty contest?
One of my teachers asked me to take part in the pageant and then my friends encouraged me.

How do you spend your days?
Facebooking, watching films, tv, drumming.

Where do you hang out here?
At this place called The Restaurant, my place, or my friend’s place. I don’t go to clubs.

Are there any clubs here?
I don’t think so.

Interviewed and photographed in Mokokchung in January 2013.

Yimchunger Naga Men

January 30, 2014

Yimchunger Naga tribe street style
Yimchunger Naga men.

Photographed at the Hornbill Festival in December 2013.

Zuboni Humtsoe

January 28, 2014

street style dimapur nagaland

street style dimapur nagaland
Zuboni Humtsoe, 23. Superwoman. Lotha NagaLives in Dimapur.

“I wish I could be 23 forever. That way I would have all the time in the world to run after my dreams. Don’t have to worry about getting old and doing things in a hurry, no?

I grew up here in Sema Tilla in Dimapur. There was nothing here. We would fly & chase kites, go looking for frogs, climb trees, steal bugri, steal milk from the army cantonment area, steal vegetables and coconuts from Catholic priest’s garden. As a kid, I think I was different. When other kids would talk about barbies and picnics and all pretty things, I would dream about traveling to new places. My sister thinks I am a ‘dreamer’ but I am realistic too and that is when I start doubting myself.

I studied Political Science in Delhi. I loved the subject. College taught me a lot about world and life. It gave me the confidence to do what I want to do and not follow the crowd. Here, in Nagaland, everybody is obsessed with white collar jobs, security of government jobs, and comfort of a pension. Working in the government is easy. You don’t even have to work at times.

I like observing how people dress up and style themselves. Since school I was fascinated by fashion shows and elaborate photoshoots in magazines. Part of growing up in a society that’s obsessed with vintage clothing also fascinated me. My childhood is flooded with vintage shopping memories — my mother and aunts would wear high waisted denims with cotton crop tops and their favorite shade of red lipstick — a trip to the market was never complete without a visit to the ‘other’ side. We would have fun dressing up…that was happiness for us.

I like everything by Michael Buble. Sunrise & Happy Pills by Norah Jones are my favourites.”

Do you have any fashion icons?
I like Cate Blanchett and Frida Giannini.

If you could live somewhere else, where would you be? 

Photographed and interviewed in Dimapur in Jan 2013.

Konyak Naga Woman

January 23, 2014

street style nagaland

street style nagaland
Ethiel Konyak. Konyak Naga. Fashion model. Has a marijuana leaf tattooed on her arm. Wants to get into politics. Lives in Kohima.

Photographed at the Hornbill Festival in December 2012.

Konyak Naga Men

January 22, 2014

konyak naga hornbill street fashion
Konyak Naga men.

The word ‘Konyak’ is derived from ‘Kaonyak which means ‘blackhead’ or ‘human’. The connotation is that the look of human appears black with head black. Read more.

Photographed at the Hornbill Festival in 2012.


December 25, 2013

kuvelu tetseo nagaland street style

kuvelu tetseo kohima street style
Kuvelu Tetseo, 22. Chakhesang NagaMusician/Sociology student. Likes Full house, fairytale animation, Dzukou valley, Kerti’s blog, and Naga food. Lives in Kohima.

What do you have in your wardrobe?
Lot of whites. Lot of dresses. Lot of fur.

Favourite designers
Keds Krome, Aneeth Arora, Rahul Mishra, Karl Lagerfeld…

What are you listening to on repeat?
The Way I am  by Ingrid Michaelson.

How do you spend your days in Kohima?
I blog when I am free. I like cleaning stuff. Mopping. Watering the flowers. Helping mom. Most of my time is spent cleaning stuff.

Anything you’re obsessed with?
Fur. And cleaning.

Interviewed and photographed in Kohima in December 2012.

Everyday Kohima

December 15, 2013

kohima street fashion

kohima street style

kohima street fashion

street style nagaland naga woman

kohima nagaland

kohima nagaland

nagaland street fashion

kohima nagaland

kohima nagaland

kuvelu tetseo tetseo sisters
Kuvelu Tetseo, 23. Musician.

kohima street fashion

kohima street fashion india

December 11 2012. Today, Keds and I hung out on the streets for about six hours. I wanted to document how the town people dress up on a regular day. We met two models. A designer. A blogger. A teacher. A shopkeeper. And a lot of students. Keds was excited about doing this as she works as a fashion designer and felt it’d be a good thing for her to really stand & pay attention to what people are wearing out in thetown. While waiting, we talked about her work, my blog and how/why such a documentation is interesting and important.” // excerpt from my journal

kohima street fashion india
Khriesazo Rhakho, 23. Theology student.

kohima street fashion india
Asang, 28. Social Science teacher.

kohima street fashion india
Joykap, 19. Class 12 commerce student.

kohima street fashion india
Atu, 21. 1st year MA Economics student.

kohima street style

kohima street style
Azi, 14. Class 9 student.

kohima street fashion india
Lezotuonuo, 20. Student.

kohima street fashion india

kohima street fashion india
Nikchunaro. 1st year BA student.

kohima street style
Akum, 25. Shopkeeper.

kohima street fashion india
Vizo, 19.

kohima street fashion
Pauria, 20. 1st year BA student.

street style kohima
Rebecca, 18. 1st year BA student.

street style kohima

street style kohima
Sekuzo Sovenyi, 22. Fashion designer.

street style kohima
Baby Kerhuo, 26. Works at a shipping company in Denmark.

mr nagaland vengitso z puro

kohima street fashion
Vingotso Z Puro, 22. Ex Mr. Nagaland.

kohima street style
Adwalie, 18. Class 11 student.

kohima street style
Thejangulie Nakhro, 20. 2nd year BA student.

kohima street fashion

naga street fashion
Mercy Tetseo, 29. Musician.

kohima street style

kohima street style
Old Naga couple crossing the street.

kohima street fashion india

kohima street style
Street side vegetable vendors.

kohima street fashion india
Church going Naga girls on a Sunday.

kohima street style
Man wearing Naga(Angami) shawl.

kohima street fashion india

kohima street fashion india

kohima street style

kohima street style

kohima street style


kohima street style

Photos from Kohima, Nagaland taken in December 2012.

Chovi-e Luho

December 9, 2013

street style kohima india
Chovi-e Luho. 23. Management graduate. Lives in Kohima. Belongs to the Angami tribe. Likes Modern Family.

“I look up to my grandma for fashion. She is just an old village lady but has this particular style, when you take it to the fashion level she really has it. She is about 70 years old & lives in Khuzama village.”

Do you like anybody from pop culture?
Lady Gaga.

Where do you hang out in Kohima?
Kisama village. We go there sometimes to just chill and do barbecues.

I’m here for Christmas holidays. Usually we spend Christmas with our family. Have family gatherings. Go to church. Go out for picnics in the outskirts. Go fishing. Best part about the picnics is Galho — a Naga dish made with rice and vegetables.

Does your name mean something?
Chovi means ‘leading to the right destination’ in Tenyidie.

Photographed and interviewed in Kohima in December 2012.

Kusa Khesoh

December 5, 2013

street style kohima nagaland

street style kohima nagaland
Kusa Khesoh, 22years old. Literature student. Lives in Kohima.

“I grew up in Phek district. I was there for 19 years then I moved here.

What I like about Kohima is shopping and an independent life. Every now and then I earn by working backstage for some designers. Most times I eat out at Big Bite or Ozone cafe. Sometimes I skip dinner and sometimes I have noodles and go to bed. It’s easy for me to live alone. Kohima is different from any other city. I am planning to move to Delhi next year to do my MA. If I don’t do my MA, I’ll probably work at a call centre. Otherwise, I’m interested in working as a stylist.

Alexander McQueen inspires me. I love his collections. In terms of attitude and appearance maybe Lady Gaga. I also love Rachel Zoe, Nidhi Jacob, & Anaita Shroff.

I spend my days taking photos for my blog and my lookbook. I love collecting vintage photos and clothes from uncles and aunts and like going to the thrift shops. I have a lot of bags, all from the streets. And vintage glasses. Thrift shops are at every corner in Kohima town. Best places for shopping are Sekho complex & open market at BOC junction.

I love Bon Iver, Morissey, Mumford & Sons, Laleh, The head and the heart. My favourite songs are Flume by Bon Iver & Some Die Young by Laleh.

The only thing I don’t like about Kohima is that it’s too cold.”

Photographed and interviewed in Kohima in December 2012

Mercy Tetseo

November 27, 2013

mercy tetseo nagaland streets style
Mercy Tetseo. Has read Odd thomas about 7 times.  One of the Tetseo Sisters. 2nd runner up Miss Nagaland 1999. Has a degree in psychology. Lives in Kohima & Delhi.

There was just forest around everywhere and a very few houses. A bunch of us 6-7 kids would go on fake hunting expeditions and picnics — take biscuits and fill flasks with tea and walk and walk. This was on saturdays. Sundays were about church and sunday school where teachers will tell us stories from the bible and play some bible games & watch some christian films. Much more fun than the church now.

In our old house at Dr Billy Graham road, it was like literally living in the forest. We were the second family to move in there. Only traffic was people going to work in the fields in the mornings and evenings. When we were kids we would hang out by the gate and old ladies would give us pumpkins. My mom loves gardening so half of our land was a kitchen garden. We had 4 pigs, guava trees, mulberry, pears, peaches, passion fruit. My mom and dad grew them. Our house was a typical tin roof house with a big Naga style kitchen with a fireplace in the middle and two rooms. We used to grow our own vegetables — pretty much everything. And there was a huge tank for storing rain water that’s where two of our cats drowned unfortunately. We lived there for a year till we moved to a concrete house behind it. The garden remained till we eventually sold everything off and moved to our present house.

We used to have a lot of fun fetching water from the well and rivers. My parents used to find water sources and dig wells. We’d have competition amongst us siblings how many pots of water one could fetch in a day. We would also catch fish. I remember an old man would announce no women folk could fetch water for two days and that meant the annual Angami festival(Sekrenyi) was on. This is when a woman is not supposed to cross a man’s path. Same for men. Ah so between Azi, I, and my brother, Azi used to win. She’d fetch about 5-7  pots.

Do you have a favourite memory from your childhood? Running back home through the forests, through sun, through some scary parts, through shade, anticipating what would be there for snacks. Momos, chow, cakes, jalebis, or samosas. Sometimes mom would be there, sometimes not. We would make tea and play guess what mom would bring from school. Momos were the best.

Has the town changed a lot since you were a kid? Yes. Old small quaint cottages have been replaced by ugly buildings. Roads are better but have become smaller. Many of the ponds we played in have dried up or some people filled them up and built houses on them. All our childhood playgrounds are gone. The trees we used to climb are gone. A small stream used to run through the colony — there is a road there now. All bamboo grooves are gone. Ahh entire landscape has changed.

How did you get interested in fashion?
My mom, me, Azi, all my cousins, my nanny — we would religiously follow all beauty pageants. There were always lot of clothes in our house as there were 3 older female cousins in our house and my mom was very creative about recycling clothes. She’d buy stuff for them and then alter the clothes so I’d get to wear them too. We were always discussing shoes and clothes. Dressing up was like a game for all of us. We all used to play songs on the radio and dance. I was in love with flowy skirts. I think I had a cut out of Audrey Hepburn in a black dress. I used to pester mom to make short fitted dresses but she’d only make full length ones.

My dad used to have a great collection of old fashion, film, music magazines — both Indian & Western. There was Options, Seventeen, Glamour, lots of Chinese & Russian film magazines. We used to cut out pictures and make scrap books out of them and take them to school to share with friends. Mom used to copy ideas from these magazines & make clothes for us.  My dad was the first person in our village to have a camera. He had a Yashica. Azi hated being photographed when she was a kid till she finished school. My dad used to photograph me a lot. Mom would scold us if anybody was looking down in a photo as it was considered a bad photo so we would always look straight into the camera.

Are there any films you like in particular because of their fashion? Breakfast at Tiffany. I like what Marion Cotillard wears in A Good Year. Kate Beckinsale’s body suits in Underworld. The Help — most of the characters wear really pretty stuff.

How was living in Delhi for you?
I went to Delhi first when I was 19. I was in awe of all the cars, the lights at night, the shopping malls, and the traffic was overwhelming. When I moved there, first few months were terrible. Heat was bad and people were rude. But you get used to it because you become less sensitive. Everything seemed fast– exciting but scary. For me cooking for myself was fun. There was a lot of freedom because there was no routine. Suddenly it seemed like I had more time. Days started early and would stretch till late. While back in Kohima, town would shut by 3 or something and we’d sleep by 8.

What did you miss most when you were in Delhi?
Fresh air, food, and open spaces. You have parks but not forests where you can scream.

Anything you’re listening to over and over again?
My playlist hasn’t changed much for a while but I’ve been listening to a lot of Katie Melua and also What It Feels For a Girl by Madonna because I am practicing it. 

Photographed & interviewed in Kohima in December 2012.

Tetseo Sisters

March 22, 2013

tetseo sisters street style nagaland india
Kuku, Mercy, Azi, Lulu – folk singers from Kohima, Nagaland. Photographed at Hornbill Festival in December ’12. 

tetseo sisters street style nagaland india

tetseo sisters street style nagaland india

tetseo sisters street style nagaland india

tetseo sisters street style nagaland india

“The white shawl on Azi & Lulu is Mhusu Khwu or young girl’s shawl. Mercy & Kuku are wearing Chipi Khwu – the chief of chiefs’ shawl or the shawl of merit.

The big necklace is called Tida(rich man’s necklace) – it’s passed from one generation to the other. Tida in Chokri means massive necklace. You get it from your mother when you hit puberty. Before that you only wear Tiza, a string of carnelians – common for both men and women.

The moment you are born your parents claim your soul by giving you Vokha – a necklace which is short in length, a choker of beads(worn as a head band).

The quills are made of porcupine spine.” Mercy’s words.

street style fashion week tetseo sisters

street style fashion week tetseo sisters

I first met and photographed the three sisters at the Péro stall at fashion week in Delhi more than a year ago. They also hosted me back in Kohima. I hung out with them almost every day. They knew all the thrift shops. We went cafe hopping & grocery shopping…

More stories later.

kuvelu tetseo street style nagaland india

kohima night market hornbill

Note: They are in Bombay and are making their debut at Folk NationsBlue Frog later today at 6pm. Listen to their stuff here. Come.

tetseo sisters street style nagaland india

tetseo sisters

Photos from Kisama, Nagaland. Pragati Maidan, Delhi. Local Grounds, Kohima. A room in Mokokchung. Night Market, Kohima.