Mapcha Is A Lifestyle Brand Rooted In Himalayan Influences & Aesthetics

Mapcha draws from the traditional motifs and roots of its founders and reinterprets them for a modern world.
Mapcha draws from the traditional motifs and roots of its founders and reinterprets them for a modern world.Mapcha Studio

There is a sense of outdatedness that many associate with tradition and culture. But the roots that are within us, or shaped us, are what lead us to new frontiers. Mapcha is a brand that draws from the traditional motifs and roots of its founders and reinterprets them for a modern world. Founded by Lhanzey Palden and Tenzin Thardoe who are of Himalayan origin, the brand designs and curates lifestyle products that contextualise Himalayan culture and motifs for modern times. 

Based out of the Tibetan enclave of Majnu Ka Tila in New Delhi, their products range from tongue-in-cheek jewellery designed after traditional food like momos to shirts and jackets inspired by Himalayan attire and even notebooks with the iconic Tibetan Cloud motifs. With the idea of ‘bringing a bit of the mountain to homes everywhere’, the brand has been mindfully designed and curated ever since its inception in 2018. 

For Lhanzey Palden, who is the founder and creative director of the brand, her Tibetan and Ladakhi roots have strongly shaped her identity. Over the years of studying Arts and Aesthetics, she has gained deep knowledge and delved deeper into Himalayan visual culture. Mapcha is her attempt to bring her knowledge and appreciation for Himalayan art, design and lifestyle to a bigger audience. According to their website, Mapcha is a realisation of her childhood dream to create something that draws from the rich culture and community that she calls her own. 

The name of the brand Mapcha is as whimsical as the brand’s identity - it is derived from the Tibetan word for peacock, which is a positive symbol in the culture, and represents everything from wisdom to purity. In attempting to modernise traditional Himalayan motifs, the brand not only draws from the culture but also designs and collaborates with traditional artisans to create their pieces. One of the most popular products from the brand is its Samsara range of jewellery. This eternal knot motifs is closely associated with Tibetan Buddhism, in which they believe that the knot stands for the cycle of death, rebirth and the concept of Karma. The Galsang Fossil Earrings are inspired by the galsang medok or the cosmos flower which is the city flower of Lhasa. This wildflower imprinted jewellery is handcrafted by artisans in 18k gold plated over brass to create and makes for a stunning minimal addition to a wardrobe.

The collection of attire that Mapcha has created draws from a multitude of things - from the traditional Tibetan dress Chuba, the Wonju blouse worn by the Tibetans and Bhutanese, or even simple tops with oriental necklines and traditional Tibetan knotted buttons. 

The brand is currently evolving to bring attention to more artists and creators who share the vision behind Mapcha. Most recently, they have been selling signed art prints of the Tibetan-American artist Sonam Yeshi, who is based out of Dharamsala. She is an artist who draws heavily from the community, artists and craftsmen that she grew up around. Her works are a study of the motifs that she grew up with and reinterprets many Tibetan folk tales and fables in her own way. 

In addition to their products and inspired collaborations, Mapcha also participates in pop-ups and organises occasional events that bring people together. They recently organised an event in New York in collaboration with The Yakpo Collective which is an artist-run organisation that celebrates contemporary Tibetan art. They brought people together over traditional Himalayan dishes such as momos, shapleys and khabseys, to have important conversations about what Mapcha and Yakpo Collective stands for - contextualising traditional Tibetian and Himalayan aesthetics for the modern global audience. 

You can learn more about Mapcha on their instagram here

You can explore their range here

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Momos: How A Traditional Tibetan Delight Became A Routine Snack For The Indian Youth