gi Mu Natural Dye and Textiles


Ngi Mu natural dye and textiles is located in Bethlem village, Demoso Township in Kayah State. There are ethnic groups in Kayah State. Kayan is one of the ethnic groups among them. You can know the tribe based on their name for example; the name of a kayah lady ends with Myar or Moe and the name of a man normally ends with Reh for Kayah tribe. It is the same for the Kayan tribe. The founder of Ngi Mu is from the Kayan tribe and the name given is her kayan name. 

In 2018, Ngi Mu Natural Dye and Textiles came to birth as a local startup business because of the needs of local community with the objectives on

 i) creating job opportunities for women in Kayah State (especially young women) who are interested in weaving or who have completed their learning from weaving trainings: 

ii) to convey the traditional hand-weaving technique to a new generation, especially young women in Kayah State and 

iii) to regenerate natural dyeing technique which has long been applied by older generations with the use of herbs, leaves, barks and fruits. 

What does Ngi Mu do?

With the aims of preserving traditional weaving and natural dyeing techniques, Ngi Mu initiated a small weaving workshop that was composed of 4 frame looms and worked with 4 weavers for frame looms at Bethlem village and 4 backstrap weavers from different areas from Kayah State. Ngi Mu started the activities of dyeing yarns both synthetic and natural at the early stage of the set up. However, the team realized that synthetic dye could harm the environment from the materials or the waste that the team uses. As such, the team focuses only on natural dye activity from the raw materials which are available from the village nearby. The process of natural dye varies depending on the raw materials. Ngi Mu dyes mainly from Lac, Gooseberries, Myrobalan, Indian Almond leaves and Annato. Lac gives pink color, gooseberries, myrobalan gives gray to black depending on the dyeing frequency. To firm the natural colors, Ngi Mu uses alum.  

There are two types of weaving that Ngi Mu works on; frame loom weaving at Ngi Mu studio and backstrap weaving that means sending natural dye cotton yarns to individual weavers who can weave at their homes. In this way, Ngi Mu supports women by encouraging them to weave in their free time and get extra income from weaving. The  design or pattern that Ngi Mu produces are based on traditional design and looks into contemporary weaving such as from school bag pattern to scarf, baby carrier design to table cloth. 

Ngi Mu products and markets

Ngi Mi mainly produces natural dye fabric at the Ngi Mu weaving studio. There are few finished products that Ngi Mu produces. The available products are plain natural hand-woven fabric, scarf, cushion covers, napkin, table runner, tablecloth, women's blouse, and dress. Though it has only the mentioned products, Ngi Mu welcomes the customized order.

It aims to reach the middle class from both International and National markets. Ngi Mu sells products to Hla Day Shop , Youn Sone and Trendenthics. With the current political situation, there are many challenges for both production and marketing. 

Next steps

The studio is not under operation due to the conflicts in the area. The team members and weavers from Kayah/ Karenni State become IDPs (Internal Displaced Person) and spread to different safer places. It is hard to predict things will be back to normal.  Ngi Mu decided to move forward and have a temporary studio in Yangon to continue dyeing natural yarns and provide natural cotton yarns to weavers to continue weaving.  Out of many challenges, Ngi Mu is still trying to sustain the weaving and dyeing activities.    

You can order and find out more about their products here - Ngi Mu Natural Dye and Textiles

May 9, 2022