Art and Fashion Meet with No Boundaries

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Yuti Shah was working a regular job as a graphic designer just a few months back. When her husband Atul Edward suggested she use her drawing skills for something more serious, they started their very own fashion brand. Yuti recounts their journey, “Travelling back and forth to work every day in crowded trains, the never-ending work hours and the tight deadlines were my biggest nightmares. My husband and I often set out for weekend rural trips to get in touch with nature, our inner calling. On all our trips, I always kept a small notebook where I would get inspired by the textures of nature and doodle. On one of our trips last year, while sitting on a friend’s farm, my husband casually asked me to pursue my doodling more seriously.”

Atul’s confidence in Yuti’s creativity led to her quitting her job and exhibiting her work at her own art show. After the success of the show, the natural progression of things led Yuti to merge her artistic sensibility with her design knowledge and make her artworks accessible to a wider audience.

UDD is an artist’s canvas with a slight twist. Yuti designs saris, skirts and stoles that you could choose to wear or hang up in your living room for guests to admire. Vibrant and dramatic, these yards of fabric can only be attributed to the playful meanderings of an artist’s brain. Yuti says, “UDD is based on the idea that original art works are converted into happy prints, which you would want to flaunt!” The brand has a very Indian visual vocabulary – the motifs are reminiscent of Madhubani art, pagan gods and tribal drawings. She continues, “We want to create something that would be relevant to the youth. The sari is a beautiful garment and we see a huge gap in the market when it comes to more a more youthful audience. That is the void we want to fill.” So what’s the story behind the brand’s name? “UDD was a name that came very naturally to both of us as itdenoted freedom – the nature, the sky and no boundaries!”

Yuti now wants to involve other artists in UDD and promote their art. She says, “We already have three artists on board. One mixed-media artist makes a line of accessories called ‘Bead Its’ for us, another UK-based artist recently created motifs for our UDD Panchhi line and a potter designed a stunning mirror for us using our fabrics.”

UDD is reaching out to local women as well. Simple accessories like ‘latkans’ and drawstrings are given to women from nearby homes to make by hand, providing employment opportunities to local artisans.The couple sum up their design philosophy – “We want to create a brand for people passionate about life itself. It’s the love for art, design, fabric and bold Indianness!”

Volume 1 Issue 10