“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. To us, it stands for our core design philosophy culled out of India’s vast textile heritage.
MANTRA, the clothing brand, was launched in 2003 in Cochin. Our range of ready-to wear garments, in hand-crafted textiles and standardized sizes, did pioneering work in 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.
OUR RAISON D'ÊTRE
The handloom industry is one of the largest unorganized sectors of economic activity in India, providing employment to 43.31 lakh weavers from rural and semi-urban areas. Most of them are from economically disadvantaged groups and 77% of adult weavers are women.
As the nation strives towards empowering more women, we look at this sector and acknowledge its strengths: minimum use of capital and power, environment-friendly production processes, a 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, we have been liaising with textiles artisans from across India – Bagru, Sanganer, Bhuj, Phulia, Murshidabad, Pochampally, Masulipatnam, Mangalgiri, Chendamangalam, and Varanasi.
Mantra believes in innovation and creativity; in paying attention to details and setting high quality standards; in team spirit with employees, and building relationships with stakeholders; in conserving resources and giving back to society.
FOUNDER AND LEAD DESIGNER
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 hand crafts was the overarching influence that led her to pursue an education in fashion, and to become an entrepreneur at the age of 28.
Shalini graduated from the National Institute of Fashion Technology where she won the Best Constructed Design award for her final collection. She has also done an executive program in business management from IIM Calcutta. She is the first designer from Kerala to become a member of FDCI (Fashion Design Council of India), the apex body of Fashion Design in India, and to showcase her collections at the India fashion weeks held in New Delhi.
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.