Saturday, 6 August 2016

Boutique Culture in Aizawl

 The love for clothes and all things fashion that the Mizo folks have is no hidden secret. The new generation of fashion enthusiasts in Mizoram have slowly but surely learnt the value of couture (French for sewing), which is why the boutique culture has been emerging in rates higher than ever. Designers have come up from all over the state, especially in Aizawl. Most of these designers have attended designing courses in fashion institutions across the country while there are also good many of them who have developed the skill out of pure interest and practice over the years.

It is not that the entire stitching culture is new here. In fact every other household in Mizoram have an aunt or two who knows how to stitch. The unavailability of ready-made garments and economic limitations have resulted in mothers stitching their daughters dresses for every occasion. My mom stitched every Christmas dress of mine when I was younger. She even stitched some of my school uniform skirts, and the best part is, she is a civil engineer by profession!

So as time went by and professions became diverse, people hardly had the time to stitch their own clothes. However, the need for new clothes not only still existed but also increased with the improvement in the economic conditions of people. The church culture has a lot to do with it. Almost all the churches in Mizoram discourage "western" style of clothing for church mass and encourages the traditional "puan" for adult women and "appropriate" dresses for younger girls. The traditional puan is a wrap around skirt and so an upper blouse is mandatory. This need for a blouse/top to go with the puan is what generates 80% (according to my theoretical survey) of the boutique culture.

The designers in Aizawl cater to blouses and dresses for church affairs. Wedding trousseau is a grand bonus and a big market for them. Recently, the youth in Aizawl have started popularizing the party culture where events by different organisations have became a great deal and so designers are booked with orders for gowns and dresses for such occasions.

On my recent visit to Aizawl, I had the opportunity to interact with some of the most celebrated designers of the small fashionable town thanks to Sang Chawngthu, a dear friend, who volunteered to drive me around in her scooty (best mode of transport for Aizawl). Her social skills came handy as she was familiar with almost all of them making it easier for me to strike a conversation(Thank you!)

Here is a list of some of the must-visit boutiques/stores of the town:

Teremi Ralte 

C-17,18, second floor, Millennium Center.

Timing: 10am-6pm, Monday to Saturday.

Price Range: Rs. 1800-2500 

Clientele:  Mizo Singers Amtea, DJ Lalvenhimi, singer and designer Henry Varte, ace photographer Jeremy Hauhnar  among many others. 

 There is a reason why Teremi has a long list of Mizo celebrities as her clients. Apart from her haute couture like detailed clothing, she is a charmer herself. She is encouraging as a person and is extremely down to earth.

She opened her store in MC, Mizoram's only mall, on the first of July 2013. In 2015, she started her own institution for fashion called Teremi Institute of Fashion Designing (TIFD). TIFD has had a fashion show and plans to continue organizing shows annually. She is now gradually inclining towards kidswear and hopes to make her mark in the market for it.

Muanpuii Chinzah

Khatla Dawrkawn, Aizawl.

Timing: 10am-6pm, Monday-Saturday.

Price Range: Rs.1400-4500

Clientele: Apart from regular loyal customers, Gospel singers like Rebecca Saimawii, Mimi Renthlei, Stacy and Rosy K. Remsangpuii.

Muanpuii Chinzah is a household designer name. She was there before all the "new kids in the block" came around. She opened her first boutique way back in October 2008, and now owns a second store as well.

Her designs are very subtle and well thought of. Her experience shows in the way she handles every design and its detailing. I love it that she put some illustration of hers as a decor making her space very personal. Muanpuii Chinzah is one designer who will always have her loyal customers waiting for her in the line in-spite of her busy schedule.

Hannah Khiangte

Near YMA Hall, Chandmari.

Timing: 10am-7pm, Monday to Saturday.

Price Range: Rs. 2000 onwards

Clientele: Working women, elite class women.

Hannah Khiangte needs no introduction to A-city fellas. She has been one of the top rated designers that ever emerged here. She has found her niche market among the elite classes and have her own loyal customers. The Indian Runway Week show has been covered in my blog earlier here

Her store says a lot about the market she owns. It is chic, minimal, clean, very spacious but homely at the same time. She opened the boutique back in September 2013. Now she plans to open an online store later this year. Here's wishing her team the best!

Most of the affluent designers do not design from fabrics other then their own. They take pride in the uniqueness of their own source and maintain a certain style for that matter.

Apart from all of these designers some of the most notable ones I visited are Afaki Hauhnar, POZ by Papari in Mission veng thlang and Fifteen in Millenium Center. All of them are worth consulting and getting clothes designed and stitched. In Aizawl every other person is so keen on what they want, visiting any designer would suffice. The quality of stitch is almost all the same. The fabrics and embellishments are all there is that makes the difference. Of course, every designer have their own USP so knowing whom to go for for a certain event is the key. If you are new to it, contact me! Let me help you out. Although I'm not a citizen of Aizawl I do have very close knit friends there and all of these designers have become very good acquaintances. I'd be happy to help you out!

NOTE: My post consists of only the boutiques I could visit on my very short trip to Aizawl. There are definitely more designers out there but there is only so much I could cover. I do hope to cover them up for you next time :)


  1. Great going on the post. The first of these I've seen. Really needed too

  2. Great post! would love to know a little bit about PoZ too..��

  3. Very happy to say your post is very interesting to read.I never stop myself to say something about it.You’re doing a great job.Keep it up

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