Monisha Raja, Founder of Love is Mighty
I had an opportunity to meet an amazing vegan shoe and accessories designer, Monisha Raja, doing amazing things with her company, Love Is Mighty. She told her story of how she started her company, inspired by travels through India, in search of doing something that was more meaningful in her life. Prior to starting her company, she was working for many well-known fashion houses in New York, yet didn’t feel fulfilled. Two years ago, she left in search of something more.
What was so inspiring about her story was how she started her journey by really letting inspiration take her wherever it led her. By following where it led, she ended up in some tribal villages in northwest India where she met with tribal artisans that create some really exquisite embroidery. She spent some time in these villages and lived among them, in a hut, really learning what their lives were like and learning about the beautiful work they do.
In these tribal villages, every aspect of their lives are decorative. Girls make everything they wear from head to toe, dressed in their own handiwork and embroidery. They all learn how to sew and embroider from a young age. Women mainly do the bead work and men do the metal work. Embroidery is a big part of their culture.
Meeting these tribal artisans led to the creation of her company, Love Is Mighty, where she incorporates the handmade embroidery of these artisans into the designs of her vegan sandals, shoes, and accessories. All of her shoes and accessories are handmade by these tribal artisans.
Here are some of the beautiful shoe designs from her collection:
Producing With Artisans
Unlike the typical factory lifestyle we find in the U.S. and other developing countries, these artisans do not have all day to spend working on producing designs. They have lives and families have other things they need to tend to. Monisha is lucky if they have 4-5 hours to work per day. Because of the limited time availability, there is a limited quantity that her company can produce.
These tribal villages are also semi-nomadic. They are goat herders, and for parts of the year, they travel to different locations in search of different pastures for their goats to graze on. Monisha must coordinate production cycles with when they are home.
Monisha has had learned to respect the lifestyle of these artisans and the pace they work at. Compared to working with factories, working with artisans requires a much slower pace. Things get done when they get done. It’s teaching her patience, she says.
Here are some of the accessories from the collection:
Preserving Indigenous Culture
Love Is Mighty is working to help preserve indigenous culture. By employing these artisans, Monisha is helping keep their endangered craft alive. One shocking fact is that only five people exist that do cut work, a type of technique she uses in her embroidery. Only five people! If these skills are not passed on to others, this skill can become extinct!
The preservation of indigenous culture is a global issue, and not just about India. There are endangered crafts everywhere from all cultures. Unfortunately, the younger generations tend not to be interested in learning these crafts because they prefer “MTV clothes.”
It is great that there are companies out there trying to preserve these crafts.
The shoes from Love Is Mighty are really a work of art that belong in a museum. It’s really hard to fathom the number hour hours that go into making each shoe. Every piece is very special.
To learn more about Love Is Mighty, visit their website, where you can shop their collection! Buy buying a pair of shoes, you will be supporting these tribal artisans by preserving their craft and helping them make a living! You’ll also look great too!
You can also follow Love Is Mighty on facebook.