Aizawl: Meet Ladinsangi, Lalsangzeli & Lalrinpuii, the three Mizo sisters that are taking the state fashion industry by storm. The trio were recently conferred with the prestigious Devi Awards at ITC Royal Bengal, Kolkata by Union textiles and women and child development minister Smriti Zubin Irani.
The award recognises and honours working women who bring innovation and dynamism in their respective fields. The sisters were identified for revolutionising the fashion industry in Mizoram with their boutique — Vakiria — that has gained recognition for offering affordable traditional and formal wear for women.
On receiving the prestigious awards, Lalsangzeli explained that it took some time for the reality to sink in. “We received an email that we are being chosen for the award. Only after reaching the place did we realise how honourable the award is. Even the other recipients are all distinguished women in their respective fields,” she added.
The first recipients of the prestigious award from the state, the sisters started Vakiria Computerized Embriodery in 2005 marking a new trend for ladies formal wear. Earlier, Mizo women would wear only ‘Bangkok products’ on Sundays.
Their shop was renamed Vakiria due to their extension in the field of fashion industry. They are the pioneers in designing affordable Sunday fashion in the state. They also came out with bridal fashion designing in the same year.
Later on, when one of the sisters completed a course in fashion designing, the Vakiria Institute of Fashion Technology (VIFT) was established in 2010. Till date, over 300 successful designers have passed out from VIFT. The Vakiria Handloom Section was also established under VIFT and produces top-quality Mizo traditional handloom products.
One of the sisters, Lalsangzeli, said, “We started with very little money. We took loans from banks and slowly expanded our business. We all play different roles in our business. Our youngest sister takes care of designing; I am in charge of marketing and our eldest sister buys materials from China.”
They have five boutiques in Aizawl – one is a bridal boutique and another is solely dedicated to readymade garments from China; one is situated in Lunglei and another boutique is in Churachanpur, Manipur. They also sell their designs online through their Instagram account Vakiria.
They started Vakiria Men’s in 2013 with apparels imported from different parts of the country and abroad.
Their apparel and garment manufacturing centre at Luangmual deals with mass production of school uniforms and sportswear. They currently employ over 120 people.
With an annual turnover of Rs 1.92 crore, their next big dream is to expand the factory at Luangmual so that Mizoram could be self-dependent in garments and ending imports of clothes from China at expensive prices.
Lalsangzeli added that they also plan on opening Vakiria boutiques in the capitals of all Northeastern states.