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Moala Longchar’s Kimtem Makes a Spectacular Return

Published: October 31, 2023

Growing up surrounded by yarns and yardage in her mother’s weaving business in Dimapur, Nagaland, Moala Longchar developed a deep connection to Naga textiles.

However, it wasn’t until she spent nearly two decades away from home, studying Mass Communication in Bengaluru and pursuing a career in public relations in the national capital, that she realized the true extent of her passion for these textiles. This realization led her to launch her clothing brand, Kimtem, earlier this year, as an extension of her mother’s textile company, Wapangla Weaving Unit (WWU).

Kimtem, meaning “communities” in the Ao Naga dialect, aims to change the perception of Naga textiles by making them relevant to the present-day wearer while honouring age-old techniques.

All of Kimtem’s fabrics are woven on loin looms and then hand-stitched into modern silhouettes with classic Naga designs. The result is a stunning collection of skirts, tops, and jackets in earthy hues and chic silhouettes that can be worn for various occasions.

As a brand rooted in authenticity and tradition, Kimtem focuses on using pure cotton yarn and Eri silk, materials that have been replaced by cheaper alternatives over the years. Longchar’s deep appreciation for textiles and weaving developed during her involvement with WWU, where she began experimenting with designs and motifs, gaining recognition for her work.

Recognizing the market’s demand for contemporary Naga fabric, Longchar saw an opportunity to combine her love for textiles with her professional expertise in brand communications.

Collaborating primarily with women who work on loin looms, many of whom are housewives striving to supplement their family’s income, Kimtem empowers these home-based weavers and provides them with upfront payment, providing financial stability. By introducing them to novel designs and yarns, Kimtem breathes new life into their work, enabling them to transition from traditional designs with ease.

To further expand her network, Longchar encourages and remunerates experienced weavers to train newcomers in their circles, creating a fulfilling experience for everyone involved. Looking ahead, Longchar aims to diversify Kimtem’s offerings to include contemporary Naga shawls, home textiles, and accessories.

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