Ahilya was founded by Manuela Moollan in 2008. Born and educated in Paris, Manuela’s passion for cultural exchange and adventure inspired a radical career change in 2008, when she started ahilya, a label initially inspired by the ancient traditions of Kashmir and its namesake fibre.
Manuela is fascinated by experimentation as a means of pushing traditional techniques beyond their conventional boundaries. Debuting with Calais leavers lace and increasingly experimenting with techniques such as bespoke hand framed knits, handpainting and silk screen printing, Manuela brings personal cross cultural paradigm to the product.
Having spent several years exploring the technical aspects of the production process and researching fibres, ahilya commits to a sustainable engagement with Kashmir’s textile traditions at every stage of the production process. Manuela travels regularly to Kashmir, where Ladakhi hand-combed cashmere is hand-spun and hand-woven as it has been for centuries.
Committed to manually processed fibres from wool selection, washing, separation, spinning to weaving, ahilya sources from Nomadic herders in untouched Himalayan landscape of Ladakh, Kashmir. This is where they believe the finest quality cashmere is produced using the kindest methods. ahilya is proud to provide information about this weaving tradition.
ahilya’s key value lies in scarves that will develop into heirlooms, just as ancient Kashmiri shawls were to the Indian and European aristocracy. ahilya shawls play to luxurious pragmatism; longevity and functionality over a short-term fix.
Seeking to strike a harmonious balance between innovation and tradition ahilya continues to explore new and visionary techniques through the creation of a sterling signature product line, the AW11 ahilya couture collection. Key commissions this season include a hand-knitted trim by innovative knitwear designer Sara Bro-Jorgensen and a conceptual print by contemporary artist Frédérique Loutz. These commissions reflect ahilya’s primary commitment towards creating modern handcrafted designs to update hand combed, spun and woven cashmere from Kashmir.
Ahilya won the Ethical Fashion Forum’s Innovation Award in 2010. The label is stocked internationally, including Browns.
“The CSF Business Support Programme has helped broaden ahilya’s knowledge base on ethical practices in the fashion industry, highlighting materials and techniques with high negative environmental impacts. ahilya takes a much more thorough approach in its use of material throughout its collection development.”
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