A brand that sprung with a spark to make the best use of the resources available from the valleys of Dehradun makes some fine creations with naturally dyed fabrics.
Started with the thought of providing employment to women and offering sustainable clothing to its customers, Mulya Creation is the brainchild of Alisha Maindoliya, who utilizes naturally available resources from the land of the gods. Alisha, a former textile designer practitioner in Jaipur, envisioned returning to her home state, Uttarakhand, to start a venture of her own. This vision came to life in 2020 with the establishment of Mulya Creation in Dehradun, Uttarakhand.
She started her journey as an entrepreneur by getting the best possible resources from the nature of Uttarakhand and turning them into fashionable wear. The process of making each product begins with sourcing raw materials and naturally available ingredients. Initially, all the fibers used in the process are environmentally friendly, such as protein or cellulose-based fabrics like cotton, linen, bamboo fiber, eucalyptus fiber, and organza. The next step involves collecting the ingredients needed for creating natural colors. Anushka explains, "All our dyes are naturally made with various elements available in nature". Most of the dyes are derived from flowers gathered from nearby temples and the interior forest areas of Uttarakhand. Other materials, including tree roots, onion peels, and even wood, are utilized in the color-making process.
Once the materials are collected, the mordanting process begins. "It is the most important step in preparing fibers to accept colors from the ingredients. Our artisans, Anjana and Meenu, handle this process," shares the designer. Following mordanting, the fabric undergoes the dyeing process, where raw materials are layered on the cloth and squeezed tightly. Various materials are employed to achieve different colors; for example, marigold is used for yellow, the roots of 'manjistha' or Indian madder are used for red, and walnut peels are used for beige. After dyeing, the fabric is dried and ready to be fashioned into the desired product.
Due to the complexity of this chemical-free process, it incurs higher costs than regular practices. Anushka explains, "The process of obtaining these dyes is more expensive because we have to travel to interiors to gather raw materials, pay labor charges, and ship them from different locations." She expresses concerns about the higher costs compared to regular products, as it becomes challenging to convey to customers why their products are priced higher. Therefore, their target audience comprises conscious buyers who understand the complexity of the process and appreciate its value.
“This appreciation led us to introduce the 'Jaimala' concept, which revolves around encapsulating the feelings and emotions of our clients," she adds. Here, clients are invited to send the Jaimala (floral garlands) they wore during their wedding. Every petal is then meticulously separated and imprinted on the fabric, creating a coordinated set for the bride and groom with their initials embroidered on it. This turns it into a cherished souvenir from their wedding. When people appreciate and value these creations, it inspires us to extend the initiative to more individuals. This impact is not limited to customers but also extends to the artisans who assist in creating these beautiful art pieces.
We conduct workshops and training programs in collaboration with NGOs and rural women, teaching them to craft naturally dyed products and encouraging them to contribute to the business in any way possible. These ongoing efforts of 'Mulya,' which translates to 'Value' in Hindi, earned us the 'Uttarakhand National Start-Up Award' in 2020, as our brand truly embodies the essence of nature in its creations.