For some people, like Rosemary, fashion and passion go hand in hand. She is a PhD student, a teacher and has followed her love for fashion through it all. She is now the proud owner of Mizo Street Style – a clothing store which offers modern designs with an elegant touch of Mizo tradition.
Here’s a chat with fashion designer Rosemary Rynthlei as she talks about her life, her love for her Mizo roots and how it influences her designs.
Hi Rosemary. Tell us about you, your work and how you got your start in fashion.
My name is Rosemary Renthlei and I’m 27 from Aizawl, Mizoram. I’m completing my PhD in English Literature. I’ve worked as a Higher Secondary School teacher in the past and now, I run my own business which I started as a fashion blog in 2016.
I have always been very passionate about fashion and had this great urge to create new things since I was very young. I used to draw designs even though I’m not that good at drawing and sketching. But because I grew up in a family who are mostly in the technical fields, (my Grandpa is an engineer and all my aunties and uncles work in medicine and engineering) I had no choice but to follow their footsteps.
“But, in my heart of hearts I knew I that I won’t be completely satisfied if I do nothing about my love for fashion. So I started my fashion blog on the side while doing my final semester in university.”
Snippets from Rosemary’s Street Style coverage – where she used to feature fashionistas showcasing traditional elegance – just like the brand she has today – traditional wear in a modern avatar.
How have your roots and upbringing influenced your work?
My Grandpa’s only brother, R.Thangmawia, was the President of The Zo-Reunification Organisation and a very prominent figure in Mizoram. He was a member of the UNO and used to travel to America and Geneva every year for the conference to present his papers. He died in Geneva at a ripe age of 80 while he was prepping for one such paper. His goal was to reunify Mizos all over the world so that we can all stay connected to our roots.
Today, our identity is very ambiguous as we are greatly influenced by the culture of the west. So having inspired by granduncle, I started my fashion blog to celebrate our culture and tradition, and through that, keep the old still relatable to the younger crowd.
Khiangkawi Kuttah – Handwoven Mizo traditional bag
What do you do full-time? How do you manage your time with your work, hobbies, and studies?
I’m a part-time research scholar, a part-time teacher, and part-time businesswoman. It’s difficult at times but I can manage it as I work 24/7. I rarely have any free time and moreover, my business is a step by step process. I started my line in September 2017, and the actual outlet last month. Our customers are increasing day-by-day and the requirements are growing higher. I have 6 helpers as of now, but I’m starting to think that I will need to do it full-time soon.
What do you hope people take away from your creations?
I want to make people happy when they see my designs in their closet. I want my clothing line to add a little vibrancy to our traditional ‘Mizo Puan’. I just love creating new things from a plain piece of cloth… It’s like magic!
“I want my clothing line to add a little vibrancy to our traditional ‘Mizo Puan.’ I just love creating new things from a plain piece of cloth… It’s like magic! So in addition to the traditional clothes and accessories, I love adding fancy tops to our collection, that can be worn with the Mizo Puan (traditional wrap skirt)”
A lady wearing a blouse by Mizos Street Style with her Puan
Mizo lady weaving the traditional ‘Mizo Puan.’
Mizo Street Style store at Lalbaia Shopping Complex, Mizoram. Follow Rosemary’s collections on Instagram
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