Text: Sohini Dey | Design: Swikriti Banerjee
We aren’t artists—you might hear many designers say. Yet fashion often shows a strong affinity for the arts. Inspired by painters (check Shivan & Narresh’s Diego Rivera-inspired collection) or reminiscent of varied schools of art in technique, aka Sanchita Ajjampur, art surfaces again and again in design. We came across two fresh designers, both women with a background in graphic design who have made fabric and accessories their canvas. Here’s your look at their wearable art:
It was the excruciating crowds in Mumbai’s local trains that finally pushed Yuti Shah Edward towards turning designer in 2011. The erstwhile graphic designer gave up her job at a consultancy firm to start Udd, a womenswear label emphasizing on traditional art, textile traditions, folklore, patchwork, and bright as sunshine colours.
Encouraged by her husband—a close collaborator—Yuti found her inspiration in extensive travel, interactions with artisans and karigars, and her own book of spontaneous doodles. The brand’s bohemian meets painterly aesthetics are evident in the statement prints, created by Yuti, in association with artists and craft clusters across India. Using leftover fabrics, a collection of ensembles also highlights Udd’s sustainable values.
Totem Tandav, Udd’s new collection launched in tandem with her online store, combines Native American ethos with Tandav, Lord Shiva’s divine dance. “When I began Udd, one of the fixtures of my workshop was a Totem mask gifted by a friend,” says Yuti. “As our brand grew and our artists, artisans, and customers became more akin to family than customers, I wanted to depict a stylised, Indian version of the Totem pole—a visual record the journey and beliefs of our own Udd tribe.” A harmonious blend of art, colours, and thoughtful design, Udd’s ethnicwear (lehengas for unconventional brides) and fusion pieces are stealing hearts and raising the numbers of this unique tribe.
Art and Facts
It may be the eve of Razia Kunj’s first ever jewellery exhibition, but the seeds of this new wearable art label was sown long ago. An illustrator and graphic designer, and co-founder of the creative agency Thought Blurb, Razia made her first jewellery nine years ago—but Thought Blurb and a growing daughter took priority over her interest.
In the last year however, the designer has rekindled her hobby into an extension of her work, creating painted wooden jewellery inspired by local traditions, paintings, and performing arts. Think Theyyam necklaces, and Jamini Roy-inspired almond-eyed beauties for earrings. Replicating and often reinterpreting concepts in art, mythology, and architecture, the designs are rooted in Indian narratives. “This is also my way of bringing a community together, with shared stories and artistic experiences,” says Razia whose solo wearable art exhibition will be held over this week at The Easel in Mumbai.
With limited-edition, made to order pieces being her forte, Razia wants to explore other mediums besides wood in her forthcoming designs. “I also hope to design a collection for men someday,” she lets us in on her secret plan. We can’t wait to see what Razia has in store, but till then, we are content collecting her miniature art among our coveted treasures.l
Images: Udd Studio; Art and Facts by Razia Kunj.