What do Kufri, a popular vacation destination in India, and Dallas have in common? Mili Suleman, a 33-year-old graphic designer who found a way to bridge her love of textiles, her Indian heritage and her happy place. That bridge is Kufri Life, a Dallas design studio specializing in hand-loomed and printed textiles.
Kufri Life began as an idea to bring mother and daughter closer together. Suleman’s mother, Maya, who loves to quilt, crochet and stitch, currently lives in the Middle East. Although her mother faithfully visits Dallas once a year, Suleman still yearned for a way to connect their passion for textiles.
The company serves as a way for the two to bond, sharing ideas and creating beautiful things together — much like they did during Suleman’s childhood. She and her mother would shop for fabrics, which her mother turned into beautiful clothes.
Suleman’s mother is an integral part of the Kufri team, lending her expertise on product development and accompanying Suleman on product trips. In fact, Suleman says her mother is an excellent negotiator when it comes to buying materials.
With row after row of Indian ikat, hand-woven and hand-screened fabrics, Kufri Life is a DIY’ers dream. The ikat goes through a complicated process to create its distinctive and popular pattern.
“A lot of the ikat we see in America comes out of central Asia,” Suleman says. “The ikat from India is very different. It is beautiful and very versatile.”
Although they are still settling into their new space — the company officially launched last fall — Suleman is clear on her vision for the studio.
“We are currently in the process of converting our new space to a place where designers or any of their clients can come look around, kind of like a showroom, to look at textiles, swatches and mock living rooms,” Suleman says. “That is the vision.”
For retail customers, the studio is open by appointment only, and prices start at $40 per yard for cotton and $70 per yard for silk. If you prefer to have them do the work, Suleman’s team also does custom pillows, curtains and light upholstery. They also recently added handwoven rugs to the line.
Suleman is a long way from Kufri, the city that inspired the name of her textile business. But she keeps memories of it close as she works to spread her passion for locally made products with a global influence.
“I have always had a serious case of wanderlust,” Suleman says. “It’s been amazing connecting with my mother through this new adventure. I can’t wait to see where we land next.”