Label MANTRA by Shalini James

Label MANTRA by Shalini James

“Mantra” is an ancient Sanskrit word for a powerful incantation. It has long since been adopted into the English vocabulary to express one’s signature beliefs. For Mantra, it stands for their core design philosophy culled out of India’s vast textile heritage.

As the nation strives towards empowering more women, approximately 43.31 lakh weavers are from rural and semi-urban areas. Most of them are from economically disadvantaged groups and 77% of adult weavers are women.

Mantra looks at this sector and acknowledges its strengths: minimum use of capital and power, environment-friendly production processes, flexibility to innovate, and the capability of being a huge growth driver for more women to join India’s economic workforce. 

With a vision to revive, sustain and elevate the hand-crafted textile heritage of India, Mantra has been liaising with textile artisans from across India.

About the Collection – “Finding Walden”

This season, at MANTRA, they have engaged with the richness of colour and a craft-intensive design aesthetic with renewed fervour. There is a sense of urgency to support textile crafts that languished during the pandemic. “Finding Walden”, besides being a journey of self-discovery, is also our labor of love for the textile heritage of this country. It is a collection that has traversed the path from Phulia to Mangalgiri, and from Sanganer to Masulipatnam, through very uncertain times.

It took two extraordinary years and many a village, to bring out our new collection – “Finding Walden”. The title is inspired by “Walden – Life in the Woods”, a book written in 1954 by Henry David Thoreau. This is a collection of autumnal colours, layered silhouettes, artisanal textiles, and detailing. Together, their intensity offers a panacea for the gloom induced by the years spent closeted indoors. 

About Mantra

MANTRA, the clothing brand, was launched in 2003 in Cochin. Their range of ready-to-wear garments, in hand-crafted textiles and standardized sizes did pioneering work by bringing about a paradigm shift from customized designing to prêt -a-porter.

The fundamental principle of prêt is the framework of predetermined, standardized sizing. We have devised our own size charts after extensive research and anthropometric studies. Our fanatical attention to the design process, and the numerous protocols instituted at the design house which go into creating the unique aesthetic and fit of our clothes, are vouched for by our diehard clientele.

About the Designer – Shalini James

From the age of twelve, Shalini James spent all her free time in her mother’s design studio, pottering around with fabrics and interacting with embroidery artisans. This early exposure to textiles and handcrafts was the overarching influence that led her to pursue an education in fashion design from the National Institute of Fashion Design (NIFT Chennai 1998), and to become an entrepreneur at the age of 28.

Shalini has been awarded the “Woman Entrepreneur of the Year 2015” by TIE Kerala, the Kerala chapter of TIE Global, the “SME Excellence award 2017” by Destination Kerala, the South Indian Fashion Award (SIFA) 2017, and the “Jwala Woman Entrepreneur Award 2017” by Kairali-People TV.

She is the first designer from Kerala to become a member of FDCI (Fashion Design Council of India), the apex body of Fashion Design.

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