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Introducing TUNI

Tuni Founder of Mrinmayee is a Bollywood Buff so I thought this might go well with a post Holi and Himachal vacation .

Every great design begins with an even better story , this is the story of TUNI.

Mrinmayee was brought up in Hyderabad, lived in Calcutta and London briefly. She studied textile design and NIFT Hyderabad, after which she went on to do a diploma in fashion management from London School of Fashion, UAL. TUNI was conceptualized and started soon after her studies. Currently, along side her work she is also pursuing a course at IIM, Ahmedabad.

She likes painting , enjoying  plays of various genres, and is a complete Bollywood buff and absolutely loves traveling. She also loves to  to try a variety of cuisines and good coffee!

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What does Tuni mean ?

TUNI — stands for Textiles yoU aNd I. The name was formed out of my design philosophy which revolves around a process of co-creation. I truly believe the U in TUNI is very important. Since we are working on custom collections, working together with the client becomes very important. The design fundamentals that we follow here engage the client in the  design process so that they cherish the outcome more. Textiles being our strength, U is the client and I is the design fundamentals and ethics we work along.

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When and how did Tuni start ? What was your main inspiration ?

TUNI was conceptualized soon after I got back from my course in London, in 2013. We registered the company and started work in Jan 2014.

Having traveled extensively, I have had the opportunity to meet a lot of different people. Just like each person was different from the other so were their homes. That’s when I realized how important doing up your home right was. I feel the home is a reflection of your personality, likes and inspirations. I wanted to create spaces and homes that told stories of each person’s personality through textiles. TUNI’s concept was and is to tell your story through our textiles.

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What are the types of products you make ? 

We work mostly with handwoven and hand painted textiles as of now. I have found both these mediums very powerful for a storytelling concept. This year I am looking to experiment with embroidery and block printing as well. Over the years I wish to create a pool of various techniques that suit our design concept. At TUNI, we make all custom soft furnishing, including, bed linen, table linen, lampshades, cushion covers, travel pillows, kitchen linen, etc.

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Share a bit more about your design process, your key inspirations , what kind of crafts do you like working on the most ?

 As a process, one kind of collection is where we custom make designs for your home. Another kind of collection that I do is inspired my own travels. I tell stories of the place or the time spent with various artists. Our conversations are illustrated on the textiles, hence a part of me and the artist’s inspiration forms the basis of these collections.

As for the crafts, the focus so far has been on hand painted work. We have worked on this concept with Patachitra artists from West Bengal, Patachitra artists from Orissa, mural painting artists from Guruwayur etc. Handmade is the core of all the collections, designs and the overall concept.

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I work on various collaborative projects as well. So far I have worked with rural artists on capsule collections, a collaboration with an interior designer where we made custom textiles for one of the homes. Other projects for the year include collaborations with product designers to customize textiles for  furniture. I am open to collaborations with people from different creative fields as well. For instance I am working on a new collection in collaboration with a photographer. I thoroughly enjoy the design process and look forward to being at my studio every single day! The process of co-creation helps us at TUNI to widen our horizons and come up with designs and collections that are truly unique in nature. The best part of it, is that it is fun to be surrounded by all this creative energy.

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( P.S that’s my little boy pretending to sleep during the Tuni photoshoot !)

Who are your personal favorite designers ?

I have always been very intrigued by Issey Miyake. His collections are very inspiring.

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“Each artist was very different and special in their own way along the journey. The one thing I enjoy the most is the warmth they bring to the table along with the creativity. After one of our work morning, I was invited in by a weaver in Pochampally for lunch at his home, it is by far been the most delicious south indian meal I have had!
I don’t remember anything particularly funny, but I did have a long discussion with one artist about a cash on delivery method. He was sending across some samples and he said, please receive it and pay the postman. It confused me so much. I kept asking him if the postman was his relative. I just couldn’t wrap my brain around why I should pay the postman. This was at a stage when I was unaware of how even a COD worked and I was more anxious about him having received the payment than he was. I have luckily come a long way from that!  “

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Tell me a bit more about how you decided that you wanted to start something on your own ? Why not do just a regular safe job ? What inspired you to do something on your own ?

Well, There is no sure shot recipe for success when you start a business, any kind; so, it was a better now than later kind of a decision for me. I preferred having time on my side. When I started, I was just 22 (2013), but today, to look back there is nothing I wish did differently. I have made mistakes along the way, but I prefer to learn from my mistakes than someone else’s. DSC_0024

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Tuni also launched a DIY kit to paint cushion covers yourself. Follow us on Instagram to see what I created with my kit !

Follow Tuni on Instagram here and Facebook here.

Image Courtesy : All pictures are shared by Tuni.  Tuni also shared product samples which was shot by me in The Mirage , Andretta in Kangra Valley , Himachal.

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