Cilwana: Fashion label that blends Kashmir crafts with modern designs

Working to blend rich footwear of Jutis and Aari work with stylish western trends, a 29-year-old fashion designer, Nusaiba Bhat, takes her inspiration from traditional Kashmiri designs.

With a degree in finance and many years of experience of working in the financial sector within country and outside, Nusaiba said goodbye to a lucrative career and started working for her passion – creating a fashion studio in Srinagar based on traditional crafts of Kashmir.

Nusaiba says she always dreamed of pursuing her passion by stirring up the love for Kashmiri tradition through her creations in an entrepreneurial way. The outcome of her endeavour is come out in the shape of her newly launched fashion label Cilwana. While focusing on quality and traditional craftsmanship, Cilwana follows the new trend in the market.

“Cilwana is a personalised store where you get unique products. For my every product, I try to experiment with new ideas and it has proved to be fruitful till now,” says Nasaiba.

Since her childhood Nusaiba’s knack for understanding the purest form of fabric came through the habit of feeling and understanding the intricacies which helped her in identifying quality stuff and understanding the varieties of fabric.

Driven towards the glamorous world of fashion designing from an early age, Nusaiba is working with the determination for ‘preserving the culture and heritage to prevent its extinction by blending it with modern designs’. 

Nusaiba believes that it is not just the passion that helps a person to fulfil their dreams, rather education and exposure plays an important role.  

After completing her schooling from Presentation Convent School, Srinagar, Nusaiba joined Kashmir University and did post graduation in Finance and Control. 

Later on, she moved to Mumbai and worked in the prestigious commodity exchange of the county as an analyst.

“While at MCX, I got a chance to work with many business entities at the top level which helped me to understand the intricacies of the real business world,” she says.

She also worked as a credit officer in Delhi for some time providing services like investment, lending and money management.

“Later on I went to Dubai and worked for some time Habib Bank Zurich (HBZ). My work experience gave me a big boost and great exposure of how the business world actually works,” she says.

With all this experience and exposure, Nusaiba decided to return back to her roots to start her venture in Srinagar.

“Initially, I started with a WhatsApp group, followed by an Instagram page, and received overwhelming response for my work,” she says.

Presently she is receiving 20 plus orders every day and with the addition of the recently opened retail fashion studio at Rajbagh the daily orders increasing day by day.

“At Cilwana my USP is hand picking each and every product that goes in making the footwear as well as my clothing line making sure the quality is top notch,” she says.

Nusaiba has travelled across India to meet Artisans, find the best quality fabric, leather and other material for making a perfect design and comfortable footwear.

Nusaiba set up her online store in June 2018 June and opened her fashion studio at Radio Colony, Rajbagh recently. She makes full use of social media to promote her business and connect with the people. From placing orders to updating customers and delivering orders, her page on Instagram has played a vital role in promoting her business.

“Not just for my personal interests and growth, I expanded horizontally but also I realized the need of the hour is that the people in our society should have a good know-how of the finest quality fabric, as nowadays it has become very difficult even for people who are in this trade to differentiate between different types of fabric and judge quality of the stuff,” says Nusaiba.

Cilwana is a label that follows a new trend in the market while focusing on quality and traditional craftsmanship.

“Cilwana is a personalized store where you get unique products. For my every product, I try to experiment with new ideas and it has proved to be fruitful till now,” she says.

Being a financially independent woman, Nusaiba believes every woman should strive for a better and financially independent living.

Nusaiba always dreamed of pursuing her passion by stirring up the love for Kashmiri tradition through her creations in an entrepreneurial way. She says that her family has always supported her unconditionally and believed in her vision.