Tradition meets Trend: Mekhala Mama's Stylish Advocacy for Naga Textiles on Instagram

Tradition meets Trend:

Mekhala Mama's Stylish Advocacy for Naga Textiles on Instagram

In the era of social media, platforms like Instagram aren't just about pretty pictures anymore; they've evolved into powerful tools for cultural expression and advocacy. Enter Dr. Theyiesinuo Keditsu, better known as Mekhala Mama on Instagram, epitomizes this evolution. By day, she's an Assistant Professor, but by night, she seamlessly transitions into a Naga fusion fashion influencer.

With over 38k followers on her Instagram handle, @mekhalamama, she's not just about showcasing trendy Fast Fashion or Haute Couture outfits. She's on a mission to breathe new life into Indigenous Naga textiles and uplift women's narratives.

What makes her stand out? Well, it's her knack for visual storytelling. In every post, she rocks a Mekhala, a traditional wrap-around skirt worn by women from various tribes across the North-eastern region. But here's the twist – she pairs it with everything from stiletto boots to quirky tights, blending tradition with modernity in the most fabulous way.

Naga traditional attire isn't just about looking good; it's about honoring rich cultural heritage. Sadly, interest among the youth has been waning, posing a real threat to the livelihoods of traditional artisans. That's where Mekhala Mama steps in. 

But here's the kicker – she doesn't just talk the talk; she walks the walk. Through initiatives like #MekhelaMovement and #MekhelaWednesdays, she encourages women to embrace their roots and wear traditional attire to the office. And it's not just online either; she's out there in the real world, participating in seminars and conferences, advocating for the preservation of Naga tradition and the empowerment of tribal women.


In one post, she delved into the origins of the motif designs of the Ao mekhela, revealing how they draw inspiration from the humble cucumber seeds. By giving credit to each brand she collaborates with, Mekhala Mama contributes to the visibility and success of these businesses, further empowering the local community. One of the key aspects of Mekhala Mama's Instagram presence is her role as a cultural ambassador, both within and outside of Nagaland.



On International Women's Day, Mekhala Mama didn't just wear a pretty outfit; she made a statement. Each piece she wore told a story – a story of women who marry and leave their ancestral homes. The Sümi mekhala, known as ‘Pulosümini’, traditionally bestowed upon betrothed girls, symbolized the transition into new roles as wife and mother, gifted by her Sümi mother who herself had married into the Angami tribe. The Bhutia apron, ‘Pangden’, borrowed from her cousin, a Bhutia by marriage, is a garment worn exclusively by married women. Meanwhile, the ‘Honju’ blouse was a gift from her brother-in-law's mother, a Lepcha with Tibetan heritage. 



“Often patriarchy celebrates those women who integrate into their husband’s culture ‘completely’ defined by a kind of severance from her own that borders on amnesia. But is there really such a thing?” 

Fashion isn't just about looking good; it's about self-expression. And for Mekhala Mama, it's a form of advocacy. Most people throw on clothes without a second thought, but she? She's on a mission. With every outfit, one Mekhala at a time, she's breaking barriers, starting conversations, and celebrating diversity.

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