Kerala’s handloom sector enjoys quite a reputation in the sustainable fashion landscape in India. When it comes to handloom, in particular, many homegrown brands have emerged to revive locally produced products that depend on local production processes. It’s an attempt to sustain the craft by aiding the artisan community, all while keeping up with the trends in the fashion world. Or rather, bringing in new trends that change the way we look at mainstream fashion. Suee, a handloom clothing brand based out of Kannur, Kerala, is commemorating the handloom movement by bringing together different artisans to preserve a dying heritage.
What’s Their Story?
Hiba Maryam and Krishna, co-founders at SUEE, are re-imagining Kannur’s handloom sector in a new light. While they were both in NIFT, their graduation project involved studying the handloom and handicraft clusters of Kannur, well-known as the handloom city of Kerala. During their study, they got to know about the ground reality of a craft that was right under their nose.
Hiba shared, “We started taking up several projects together, including collaborating with the district administration in designing eco-friendly shopping bags and helping various cooperative societies in Kannur. The frequent visits to these societies was an eye-opener for us. We witnessed the hardships and struggles of the workers in the dying industry even when the product demand and quality were unmatchable. We decided to do our graduation projects in this section, and we even bagged the best project award.”
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After graduating from NIFT, Hiba and Krishna knew they had to give back to the handloom industry. They wanted to choose a career path that would give them immense joy and pleasure rather than living the mundane 9-5 job. She commented, “As an initial step, we began to help various societies with value-added products which were hot sellers. It made us realise the business potential and a great market in sustainable and handmade products. That struck a chord and we knew we had to build a brand. Our families, faculties and friends were of great support.”
The word Suee, which translates to a needle in Hindi, symbolises the idea of stitching together traditions. A perfect name for a brand reviving craft and culture, they sensed. Suee was finally launched and inaugurated by MP Sreemati Teacher during the second anniversary of the state government.
What started out as a graduation product turned out to be an inspiration to kickstart a sustainable business venture. Hiba Maryam is the co-founder, Design Head of Suee and Krishna is the co-founder, CEO of Suee. With a goal to develop an economically sustainable model for Kannur’s artisans, both Hiba and Krishna have paved the way to give respect to the artisan community; something that was long overdue.
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Why You Should Check Out Suee?
Suee adheres to two aims – Revolutionising and revitalising the handloom industry, and Trendifying age-old traditions. They have explored and revived dying techniques that are specific to Kannur’s handloom industry. From it, was born, contemporary designs with age-old craft embedded in them. All their garments are handmade. They provide a wide range of products from kurtis, sarees, dresses, tunics, bottom wear to customised partywear. Their pricing starts from INR 990 to INR 3500 for casual wear. Their best-selling product is their range of Kurtis.
You can buy a Suee product by heading over to their website or their offline store, recently launched in the Lulu fashion store. They’re also listed on Amazon and Flipkart.
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