Thursday, September 26, 2013

LESS IS MORA...




"Take home a MORA for love and not to make a fashion statement. Whoever has money are not the only ones who can buy as many Moras. Whoever loves Mora, Mora will find them… somehow…”

Wow! How can one not fall in love with the above line - tell me? I did, a million times, after reading it in Ritika Mittal's latest post on her blog "A thousand fireflies" and I am sure this line will strike a chord with many of you MORA fans out there as well. Like I have said in my earlier posts, Facebook has been instrumental in putting me in touch with many creative souls around the world and in 2011 during one such browsing, I came across MORA. I was instantly attracted to the name MORA, which means MINE in hindi.
The logo, the weaves, the colors, the traditional textiles, the big red bindi, the kajal and above all, the lady behind MORA Ms. Ritika Mittal intrigued me. I clearly remember a line in her "ABOUT" section on Facebook back then which completely blew me away - it read "Mass production is not our thing and each MORA creation is an individually produced labor of love which is why no two MORA creations are the same".
Once you own a MORA, that piece of creation is yours alone since each piece is one of a kind. No other textile brand in India has this type of format and I was hungry for more and wanted to know all about MORA. Through this process I came in touch with its creator Ms. Ritika Mittal. After a couple of emails and a phone call, I made my foray into the MORA family by buying my first MORA saree and I have remained a MORA loyalist since.



ABOUT RITIKA MITTAL:





"Cotton doesn't necessarily mean cheap and nor is shine and shimmer the only expression of celebration" - this unique mindset of Ritika Mittal resulted in the birth of MORA. For her wedding, Ritika refused to wear the usual bridal attire available in the stores and designed her own wedding trousseau instead, made primarily of cotton. A bulk order from a lady who loved her wedding outfit encouraged her to start her own business and create one of a kind textiles.

She found her calling when she went backpacking to Ladakh and realized that all she wanted to do was work with the local women and their textiles. While she designed and travelled extensively to be with her weavers, her mom in Punjab translated her designs into sarees and in no time Ritika was reviving the traditional weaves that were almost dying in the north eastern states of India like Manipur, Mizoram,
Nagaland, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. She retails online just once a year and creates around 200 plus pieces mainly comprising of stoles, kalidar skirts, MORA Kalyanis for children, sarees and home furnishings.

The MORA 2013 collection is scheduled for its online release on Oct 4th, 8pm, IST and anyone who is passionate about owning a MORA can visit her page MORA by Ritika on Facebook for further details.





SHE INSPIRES AND HOW!!



She is fondly called "Jhansi Ki Rani" because she is absolutely fearless. Taking a path less travelled is not everyone's cup of tea but no matter how difficult the journey, Ritika, who travels alone, has dedicated herself completely to reviving the dying textile art and rich culture of northeast India.






Ritika accepting her "Fun & Fearless" Cosmopolitan Inspiration award.





It takes a lot of courage and passion to do what Ritika Mittal has been doing there in the last few years. She lives in the villages like a local amidst poverty, lack of electricity, floods and government politics. Be it her fight to revive cotton there or the "Batti project"- her goal of lighting up tribal homes ( 147 so far), Ritika’s journey has been a long one. She has surrendered herself completely to the love of the people of north east India by becoming one of them.





HER FIREFLIES:



From what I have understood, Ritika refers to people who belong to the MORA family as her "fireflies" and these include her weavers, her friends and all the people who own her labor of love, all those people who love, value and respect traditional looms and textiles!








Burning the midnight oil.... weaving her dream weaves!











When I wore my first MORA saree in 2011, I was showered with compliments and all my friends wanted to know more about MORA. I helped them buy their first MORA saree and I am sure buying and owning a MORA was a unique experience for each of them.

Due to her extensive traveling Ritika has limited access to the internet and one very rarely gets to see her on Facebook. In the past each time we both were on Facebook, our conversation mainly revolved around MORA. She was keen to know whether my friends who own MORAs had a chance to wear them yet and I could tell that she was hugely disappointed to see the two words typed from my end - NOT YET!
She repeatedly told me that MORA was not just about selling and buying but her way of connecting with all her fireflies. She wanted to know the owner of each MORA personally because it was important to her that they cherish their experience of owning a MORA. When I told her that we don't find too many occasions to wear a saree in America (because of which we hadn't worn our MORAs yet) she wasn't convinced!
Well, this gave me the idea of bringing all my friends together for a photo shoot and paying our tributes to Ritika's labor of love just in time for the release of MORA’s 2013 collection in October. As usual, one phone call was all it took and my friends were there for me in their best spirits and smiles and the result is for all of us to see.

So Ritika, here you go - your fireflies are finally draped in your weaves of love and through this post we would like to carry that love forward and wish you all the very best in your future endeavors - " Let every dream weave of yours adorn a woman of substance and may you continue to shine, sparkle and inspire - like the way you have been".

Every MORA comes in a handwoven white bag with a large red printed bindi on it. Inside is a handwritten letter by Ritika talking passionately about the fabric and the love that went into making one. There is also a packet of big red bindis for every MORA owner to wear and it denotes "Feminity".





ANVIKA AITHAL: 
I played dress up with moms dupatta when I was 6 and since then I have always wanted a little saree of my own. I was thrilled when I got a MORA Kalyani as my 7th birthday gift & everytime I wear my Mora kalyani and look at myself in the mirror, I think I look  like my mom - "Beautiful".




Photography: Nirmala Mohan.
Concept & Styling: Jayashree Rao.





























VEENA NAYAK: 
"Draping this saree made me feel elegant and one with nature's beauty. The finest Andhra silk with its myriad of colors, details and handmade weaves brought out the beautiful creative and feminine side of me.”




 Photography: Nirmala Mohan.
Concept & Styling: Jayashree Rao.










The saying "God lies in the details" holds true for a MORA. The well finished corners and hand stitched sugar beads on the borders are a MORA signature.

















VANDANA RAO:


“Just like all my different character traits make me the person I am, so also the varied colors and weaves in my MORA sari come together to make it unique and beautiful just for me. Mera MORA sirf mera!”


Photography: Nirmala Mohan.
Concept& Styling: Jayashree Rao.





























JAYASHREE RAO:

 “MORA is ME" - earthy, Indian and traditional. MORA to me is my love filled weaves whose values I will respect and whose richness I will treasure year after year”.



Photography: Nirmala Mohan.
Concept & Styling: Jayashree Rao.




























My first MORA...pic was taken in the year 2011.










ANU GUPTA: 
"To wear MORA was an unparalleled experience, an experience that made me feel hopelessly feminine".


Photography: Nirmala Mohan.
Concept & Styling: Jayashree Rao.











Anu is seen here wearing the rarest and the most expensive form of weave called " Muga Gicha", a weave that is normally worn by the royals.









Details and more details: Kalamkari patch work details on the inner side of the border.





NIRMALA MOHAN:
Though beauty is in the eyes of the beholder,the feeling of being beautiful is so wonderful. I feel lucky to own a MORA, as it makes me feel beautiful.

Photography: Vandana Rao.
Concept & Styling: Jayashree Rao.





























It's not about how you look.... it's about how you feel.  
Bring home Ritika's labour of love, MORA this year. The online sale starts on OCT 4th-2013, 8pm ISD....don't miss it!!

55 comments:

  1. Anu and her sari both look fabulous! Loved your third pic on the tracks. Can't wait to buy my next MORA!-----Vandana

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    1. Vandana .... Thanks for everything... Can't wait to see you in MORA 2013!

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  2. LOVE IT!!! Looking the best is Anvika . What a sweetheart! Thanks Ritika for such a exquisite sari..Thanks Jay for introducing me to Mora ..Thanks Nimmi for the pictures;) and as Vandana truly said ..Can't wait to buy my next Mora:))
    Anupama ( feel like using my full name;))

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    1. Anu.... Thanks much. You looked gorgeous girl in your MORA!

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  3. Many lament about the dying art in India and the state of the tribes but few do something about it – Great work Ritika, you are creating beauty with your beautiful thought.

    AND you girl, my friend, are making 40’s and every women feel glamorous. The blog invokes sophistication, refinement and boldness. I love the feel it gives of being traditional with a very contemporary mindset. To me, these sarees feel fresh and young but still classic.

    All your models look amazing!!
    Great job! Worth all my reminders!!

    Nidhi Sethi

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    1. Oh, Nidhi.... thanks much for such encouraging words, it means a lot to me!

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  4. u have done again Jayashree.....love the concept and visualization....u have such a knack for making the simplest of things look so beautiful.....love anvika's look and sari....she has done such an awesome job in posing for each one of the pictures....each one of the ladies are a beauty in its one way.....loved Anu's choker...Nimmi dear u r looking so lovely.....
    Ritika thank you for taking the time and effort to keep our India's tribal tradition alive and going.....it is not easy what you do and we really appreciate your efforts....

    sharmila

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    1. Shammi.... thanks for your kind words. Glad to hear that you loved this post.

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  5. Absolutely love these!!!! Like good food these sarees hit the spot. And that bindi is the icing on the cake. These are all my colors. One after another ohhhh can not decide which one is the Best..... And that jewelry.... out of this world.
    Please let me know more details and where I can get them from...

    Shipra

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    1. Shipra, Thanks for loving and reading the blog. Write to me at Jayashree_P@hotmail.com and I will give you the details.

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  6. SuperBlog! A perfect blend of glamour and tradition! Love the colors and the styling.
    Anvika just looks gorgeous! Kudos to all the ladies and photographer as well :)

    Cheers
    Namitha

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  7. Jayshree,

    I'm a fellow Naperville resident and want to let you know that enjoy reading your blog posts! Very informative, creative, and colorful! Hopefully, will get to meet you some day.

    Preeti T

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    1. Preeti .... thanks. We will definitely meet some time.

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  8. Superb! Such a nice introduction to Mora and Ritika! I love the styling and the composition of pictures in this post Jay. Very nicely done.
    Anu, you look regal in these pictures! Vandu, Veena, Nimmi, Anvika and Jay, you all look so gorgeous and feminine, you make me want to be MORA'd too! :)

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    1. Oh my Poo Ma... such a lovely comment and the message on the phone.... thanks.

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  9. Good info on Mora. ..liked this blog. Anvika looks so damn cuteee just like her mom:)
    Cheers,
    Guru

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  10. Loved Vandana's saree the best!
    I really liked your sari too Jay.
    Kudos to Ritika Mittal.

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  11. Very well done! Awesome pictures, informative on Mora and Ritika Mittal. As always creative work by Jay! Anvika - you are looking good and cute!

    Prakash

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  12. Ritika- I am absolutely amazed at the beauty of your work and most importantly the passion behind it. I am so sure each and every saree is so worth its price!! I am waiting for my MORA to find me soon.
    Thanks Jay- as usual I will say- tumne meri ankhen khool di..I am so fortunate to have learnt so much through each and every blog of yours, how we live in our worlds and then comes this blog by Jay that touches so many peoples life. The best part is that everyone can talk about Art but not everyone can talk so well about an artist and make people appreciate that art from the heart! Your blogs make me do that:). Also the blog is more meaningful as it reflects on how Ritikas sarees are adorned beautifully by all our beautiful friends and how much their MORA's mean to them!!
    Enjoyed it thoroughly- the colors, the ambience , the positive energy!!-Love- Sunita Tandon.

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    1. Suni.... Thanks for such positive words.

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  13. Beautiful work Jayashree or should I say beautiful work Ritika. Both of you are just amazing. Loved each and every Mora saree featured on this blog. I hope I can become a Mora fire-fly this year! my daughter will definitely want the silk Kalyani worn by Anvika. The sarees look so royal and pristine. Feels like there is long wait till October 4th before the 2013 collection launches.......

    Ranjani

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    1. Hey Ranjani.... glad you like the post. I am sure you will be a MORA firefly soon... good luck!

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  14. As usual, what a beautiful blog! I read it at least three times! These saris are exceptionally beautiful and all of you girls make it look prettier! Loved the jewelry too. It is such a shame that the art of weaving is dying in India, In fact, I see very few women in saris when I go back home, that does make me cringe. I LOVE silk and cotton and hence would love to own a MORA that can be simply Mine. Loved the necklaces too, where can I get one of those too? I grew up near Bihar and Bengal and hence I have a soft corner for woven saris!
    Thanks Jayshree for enlightening all of us with your blogs.

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    1. Thanks Deval.... the neck pieces are from different places. Gold ones are from Abharan, Bangalore/ Mangalore. Anu's is a Suhani Pitte, Mine are from Tribal chic, Karmasutra and Sabyasachi.

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  15. You reminded me of the HOLI I used to play as a young girl in the streets of Kolkata...spilling color everywhere, playing fiercely, intensely, and with heart full of laughter wrapping myself in the vibrancy of it all. MORA and your presentation of this beauty is a reflection of the SELF...your inner beauty, intensity, and the electrifying expression of life. It is childish, it is grown up, it is bold, it is simple, it is so much all at once...I love it! Each time you create, it feels like a celebration of love and life...very much like when I dance! I get it so well Jay! Kudos to the creative Ritika and a salute to you for your passion for literally...EVERYTHING! And yes I am going to butter you up for that skirt...its mine!!!! Anna
    The beautiful Mora 'dolls' look lovely...all of you!

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    1. Anna.... Pleasure to share my kalidaar with you. MORA follows LOVE!!

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    2. Who said share? :) WANT!!!!!

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  16. Mesmerizing!! & Beautiful..

    Shubhi

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  17. Wow! Ritika's story is so inspiring. I'm in love with her work. One can clearly see & feel her passion. And of course it's been presented beautifully by you, Jayashree....... I can see your passion too :-)
    All the ladies are looking so lovely ........ lovely shots! gr8 job Vandu & Nimmi!
    And the sarees are beautiful....... it would be difficult to pick one but I like Anu's & Vandu's the best! Simply gorgeous pieces of art!
    Also loved your Kalidhar & Anu's neck piece.
    Ek din mere paas bhi MORA hoga!! :-)

    Cheers!
    Komal

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    1. Thanks Komal.... glad you liked the post.

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  18. Beautiful jayshree! Loved every word of expression and your girl friends are very pretty. Hope to buy this sar one dat. Hugs shobha

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  19. Lovely! Inspiring! and awesome Shots!
    Anvika ! You are blossoming into a really gorgeous lil girl!

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  20. Hi Jay - just BEAUTIFUL...there are so many stories out there but few stick to your mind and this is one of them...and I think your presentation is what tops it all...kudos to you girl...keep it going and would love to see the little sundari in action with you guys.

    May the force be with you ...hahahahaha
    Love always
    Bhagya.

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    1. Can't believe that you have commented.... isn't it your first time?.... Glad you enjoyed the post!

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  21. I am extremely delighted to see your effective presentation exposing the textile art, talents and culture of 'fireflies'. I'm sure your well illustrated posting will give a great boost to encourage people from all over to keep this talent very much alive. I like the fact that your material is not focussed only on highlighting fashion and glamour but also gives insight into where the fabric is sourced from threreby making it educative for people like me who is artistically challenged and engrossed in day to day events on politics, business and sports.

    Looks like you have not only instilled a sense of pride among those who own the Mora collection but also kindled a renewed enthusiasm among my family members to have more of Mora. Once again I want to compliment that the style and substance of your posting is very stimulating and well-thought out. It has been a memorable experience for Anvika to cherish.

    Wishing you continued success!!!
    Ganesh

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  22. Magic comes through when passion meets creativity!! Jayshree you managed to create the magic yet again for all your readers.
    Excellent work - Truly inspirational story! I am sure every woman who sees this blog would yearn to make "MORA Mine". I sure would :)

    Ashwini

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  23. It is very touching and very inspiring to know how Ritika has bought light into the lives of The people living in North east India. Your presentation with pictures and the script is simply outstanding. All Ritikas creations are exceptionally beautiful. All your friends look beautiful. I would love to own one of her creations. You always come up with surprises. Keep it up, jayashree and continue doing good work.

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  24. Hi Jayshree,
    Loved reading your post, I am in love with Ritika's creativity and passion with which she creates magic through those textiles. The sad part however is that, her sarees or kalidaars are not very affordable at all, while I understand the perils that she must have faced in remote villages to work with the folks and get these beautiful creations done, I still don't think the pricing is justified. Rs.60,000 for a cotton saree?? really??
    I actually worked with a tailor to get one of her sarees re-created in raw silk with cotton patch work border and a rich pallu, it cost me Rs.15000. She caters to a certain type of clientele, the ones who can afford her sarees. That being said, I still love her, love her work. Wish she reads this and makes her sarees more affordable, I truly want to own a MORA so badly..

    Deepa

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  25. Hi Jayashree

    Great post! Loved the sarees and models. Truly impressed by the Ritika's commitment to keeping traditional art alive! Kudos to you for sharing this with a broader audience. Keep up the good work!

    Poornima

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  26. What an amazing insight in to MORA. Fabulous stuff and write up !! feeling enlightened :)

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  27. Simply amazing!!!!
    Can you please help me with how to go about the shopping. The "Mora" site is not opening. Thanks
    ---- Archana

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