Designer Highlight: Mili Suleman of Kufri Life Fabrics

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014

I’m really excited today to share my interview with Mili Suleman of Kufri Life!  Over the past month, I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Mili and her work when she asked me to help style her showroom.  I’m very impressed with Mili’s talent and kindness.  Kufri Life uses handcrafted techniques like hand loom weaving, block printing, and hand screen printing to create one-of-a-kind pieces.  And they’re a dream for interior designers because all of the fabrics can be custom made to fit any client’s needs.  The textiles look so effortless when mixed together and create an elegant, eclectic feel.  You’re sure to see more of Kufri Life fabrics everywhere!  So, now let’s learn more about Mili and Kufri Life!

mili suleman

Mili Suleman

Tell us about Kufri Life and how it started.

My mom lives in Oman (in the Middle East) and I really wanted a way to connect with her through something more creative, so I dreamt up Kufri Life! I also wanted a new medium for my graphic design, and a life that’s more connected with people in general, which includes traveling. Kufri Life just came together as a result… it’s my authentic life. It reminds me everyday that living authentically is important.

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A few of Kufri Life fabric pillows

Who has been your greatest professional or personal influence?

My parents have been my greatest personal and professional influences without a doubt. They were first generation immigrants from India to Oman, and taught me that hard work, thought, patience and honesty will get you places, even if it’s the long route.

Even though we didn’t have a ton of money to travel around back then, my parents exposed me to a TON of amazing things from all over the world… my dad used to get “Top of the Pops” videos, which were british music videos. They spent their money on encyclopedias and amazing books, which kept me entertained endlessly. They sent me to Indian classical dance and oil painting classes… they made sure I had an open-minded upbringing. And that has been the greatest gift and the influencing reason for me being curious and creative today.

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Tablescape using Kufri Life Fabrics

Where do you find inspiration for your work?

All over. From the souks back home to old Japanese artwork. It’s really a mixture of travel, books, music, culture, history, textiles.

What is your favorite thing about being a graphic/textile designer?

The fact that it’s never boring. If I have a few dead days, I use it to dream up the next collection, which may or may not come to fruition, but I never allow myself to be bored too long. I also meet some amazingly creative people from time to time, and that’s pretty cool, too.

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Mili’s creative space:  her office

Do you have a favorite project that you’ve worked on?

Graphic design- I love packaging projects… packaging for Zevlin, Shea Touch, Taste Elevated… I can go on. Hard to pick a favorite.
Textiles- I love the research part because that’s where I exercise the most creativity.

packaging design for Taste Elevated

One of Mili’s favorite packaging projects

How would you describe your style?

Very eclectic. My dream home would be a mix of modern easy living + coastal + global + antiques + art deco + victorian… lol… you get the point. I’d mix an old kilim rug with a sofa with clean lines, then throw in things I have collected from around the world and estate sales.

What is your favorite room in your home?

I loved the living area the most. It was comfortable, lived in without being too messy and I could sit anywhere and see my favorite art pieces.

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A shot from the Kufri Life showroom with more fabrics, pillows and rug

What is one item you can’t live without?

A beautiful wood, large table. I’d use it for eating, writing, work… multi-purpose.

What three things are you currently loving?

Lipstick Queen’s lipsticks!! The “sinner” ones are matte and 90% pigmented
Anything beautiful that’s indigo color.
Antique kilim rugs stop me in my tracks too.

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Mili Suleman.002

1. Outfit: vintage-style easy everyday dresses in colorful unusual prints (african wax prints, indian ikats and block prints)
2. Meal: spicy chicken curry with naan
3. Color: indigo, off-white and coral (pictured above Kufri Life fabrics Zohra, Leeds and White Dots in Navy)
4. Drink of choice: ginger ale and killer craft cocktails
5. Your go-to item for entertaining: hummus in beautiful patterned bowls
6. Flower: bird of paradise
7. Destination: Oregon (all of it!)
8. Guilty Pleasure: Drop Dead Diva

Follow along with Mili on Instagram @kufrilife as well as her amazing blog, here.  Thanks for the interview, Mili!

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