The Manja Pai Collective aims to put spotlight on the yellow bag, along with several other tamil practices and objects.
It attempts to recontextualize design, and position the manja pai as a cultural fashion statement, one that is relevant and unique to the Tamil identity. 

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The Manja Pai Collective

Collection: The Manja Pai Collective


How we started

Manja Pai collective started as a personal project that emerged from my cultural roots. Having born and brought up in Tamilnadu, I have seen the manga pai being used in various ways. People from every generation and economic background use it in different ways. The Tamil words "Manja Pai" literally translate to "a yellow bag" In English. It refers to a utilitarian object, much like a tote bag that is extremely commonplace in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu. So much so that it is almost integral to the Tamil identity. Be it keeping your money safe or hanging dried fish at home or something as simple as getting milk.

Even though it has been a huge part of our culture, the manga pai has been ridiculed for being old-fashioned. I wanted to bring back the Manga Pai as a cultural fashion statement that has nothing to do with economic or social background. It should act as a unique fashion statement that talks about stories unique to Tamilnadu - like the kolam, marudhani, the old games, etc.

About the Collective

The social fabric of India is such that the old and the new constantly jostle for space. In the quest for modernity, age-old customs, traditions, and objects that are integral to the identity of the nation often get sidelined to make way for “cooler" euromodern Alternatives. Is globalization a remarkable opportunity for a cross-cultural exchange of ideas and understandings? Yes Of course, but not when it fosters the erosion of local cultures and its identities.
India as a country is sprinting towards the future at an alarming rate, and classic utilitarian objects of great cultural nostalgia like the Manja Pai get ridiculed and tagged as being "old fashioned”.

The Manja Pai collective attempts to break societal barriers of caste, religion, and economic background and present the 'Manja pai' as a key fashion accessory that is durable, ethically produced, sustainable, and acts as a means to express oneself. The Collective also will bring forth designs for the 'Manja Pai' that speak a global language.
We are currently working with a small unit of Manja Pai makers in Salem, Tamilnadu.