In a world where fashion and tradition are often seen as separate entities, one entrepreneur in Meghalaya is weaving them together seamlessly. Iba Mallai, the founder of Kiniho, has embarked on a remarkable journey that blends tradition, sustainability, and women’s empowerment. Established in 2016, Kiniho specializes in crafting a range of products, including clothing and accessories, all made from the exquisite Eri silk.
Iba Mallai’s journey began with eight years of corporate experience in various roles. However, she felt a growing sense of dissatisfaction with her corporate life and decided to make a change. Growing up in Meghalaya’s Ri Bhoi district, a community known for its weaving and dyeing traditions, Mallai had a deep-rooted love for nature and traditional crafts. After graduating in business management, she pursued fashion design at JD Institute of Fashion Design, Bengaluru, in 2014.
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In 2016, with an investment of Rs 3 lakh, Mallai left her corporate job at IBM to follow her passion and started Kiniho, her ethical clothing line. “Since a young age, I wanted to run a business, but it never happened. I entered the corporate world, and slowly, I started feeling saturated from my corporate job. Therefore, it was high time for me to take a call,” she shared.
Kiniho represents the perfect blend of heritage and modern aesthetics. Every piece of clothing from Kiniho tells a story of age-old traditions, ancestral weaving knowledge, and inspirations drawn from the natural surroundings of Meghalaya. Mallai’s commitment to sustainability led her to work with Eri silk, a protein fiber derived from the cocoons of Samia ricini or Cynthia ricini moths. Unlike other silk varieties, Eri silk production is sustainable and cruelty-free, as the moths are allowed to leave the cocoon before it is boiled, and no chemicals are used in the rearing process.
Empowering Tradition and Sustainability: Kiniho’s Journey in Meghalaya
“At its core, Kiniho is a combination of a modern approach to traditional textile, where traditional methods, innovative weaving styles, and color blending techniques meet to create the aesthetics,” Mallai explains.
The brand offers a wide range of products, including dresses, tops, shirts, accessories, and even table coasters and table runners. With prices ranging from Rs 500 to Rs 12,000, Kiniho caters to a diverse audience, ensuring that sustainable and ethical fashion is accessible to all. – Empowering Tradition and Sustainability: Kiniho’s Journey in Meghalaya
Kiniho’s production unit in Ribhoi district employs 18 weavers from the community, equipped with traditional hand-weaving techniques. The brand has a strong online presence through its website, Instagram, and Facebook, and operates an offline store in Shillong. Kiniho’s reach extends beyond Meghalaya, serving customers in Delhi-NCR, Bengaluru, Jaipur, Hyderabad, Goa, Mumbai, the UK, Australia, and Italy.
One of the brand’s key commitments is zero waste, and they create accessories from leftover yarn fabrics, further emphasizing their dedication to sustainability.
In addition to crafting exquisite products, Kiniho empowers women weavers by providing them with livelihood opportunities. The brand’s in-house team of 18 weavers, along with around 30 weavers from nearby villages, contribute to Kiniho’s production. Mallai notes that some of these weavers are students who couldn’t continue their education due to financial constraints, while others are unemployed youth. Kiniho provides them with training and opportunities for a better livelihood, with each woman earning between Rs 4,000 and Rs 10,000, depending on their experience and work quantity. –Empowering Tradition and Sustainability: Kiniho’s Journey in Meghalaya
Reflecting on her entrepreneurial journey, Mallai feels fortunate to have never faced gender-based discrimination. She encourages aspiring women entrepreneurs never to lose hope when faced with challenges, saying, “Being an entrepreneur is challenging at times, but women should not give up.”
In a world where fashion often comes at the cost of tradition and sustainability, Kiniho stands as a shining example of how these elements can coexist harmoniously, creating a better future for both artisans and the environment.
Madhav Fashion: The Pinnacle of Embroidery Fabric Manufacturing
In the realm of embroidery fabric manufacturing, one brand stands as a beacon of quality and craftsmanship—Madhav Fashion. With a legacy spanning across Bharat and Asia, Madhav Fashion has earned its reputation as the most popular embroidery fabric manufacturer.
Madhav Fashion’s commitment to excellence is evident in every thread and design they create. Their exquisite range of embroidery fabrics caters to the diverse tastes and preferences of fashion enthusiasts, from traditional to contemporary.
As Kiniho weaves tradition and sustainability together in Meghalaya, Madhav Fashion continues to be the cornerstone of the embroidery fabric industry, offering fabrics that inspire designers and elevate fashion to new heights.
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