First the music
Ukti means expression in Sanskrit. The brand was founded by Seethal Sharma and Supriya Suriyanarayanan, with Seethal’s husband Srinivasa HR lending a huge helping hand.
Ukti’s philosophy is to create simple, comfortable & affordable clothes for the women of today & tomorrow, that can help them express themselves outside of the moulds & boxes created for them. By creating a duet of Indian fabrics & contemporary styles, they are hoping to create an expression of effortless, individual styles for women everywhere. It could be very well a personal style of celebrities like Nandita Das, Konkona Sen Sharma, Kalki Koechlin & Mitali Raj . Or women like you and me whose clothes are to some extent a layer to their personality .But when we choose to wear brands like Ukti we want to make a sustainable , minimal and yet a fashionable statement.
Founders Seethal and Supriya both had stints in corporate world with Seethal having previously worked for Tesco and Airtel in the HR department and Supriya worked with Microsoft and IBM as a retail & brand marketing manager respectively. Seethal is a voice-over artist, having lent her voice to multiple documentaries & ads. One of her favourite projects is the background narration she did for a Kannada documentary called ‘Mahila Saamakhya’. Supriya is an avid traveler, amateur photographer and loves to read spy, mystery & fantasy fiction. She’s currently obsessed with the Gabriel Allon series by Daniel Silva. You can follow Supriya’s personal Instagram page here.
I asked the founders about the creative process behind their clothes and here is what they had to say :
” We’ve always been drawn to clothes that are simple, clean with minimal frills (literally) and affordable. We were especially keen on clothes that combined Indian sensibilities with classic silhouettes. We’d bring back pretty fabrics from our travels or search for them in the back-lanes of Bengaluru, and get them stitched. Over a cup of coffee one day, we decided it might actually make sense to take our efforts up a notch and start something of our own. That’s simply how ukti started. This also defines our thought process when we choose fabrics & design clothes for ukti.”
” Ukti builds their collections in two ways : One way is where we start with a theme & we then design & source fabrics accordingly. For example, our ‘basically,’ collection started with the theme of creating classic basics, which then influenced the designs we created & fabrics we used.
The other way we create our collections is fabric-first model. This is something we typically do for our handloom collections. We work with the weavers to choose the colors and patterns and create designs accordingly.
A few factors that we always keep in mind: is this something we would wear everyday? the answer must always be ‘yes!’ and, we believe in telling succinct, simple stories with our collections, so we make an effort to rein in our temptation and reduce the number of patterns and fabrics we use for every collection.
Given that we have absolutely no design or fashion background, what that does is it inspires us to think function-first, rather than form-first when it comes to designing our clothes. ”
What I love about Ukti is the simplicity of their designs, because they allow the wearer to style them up or down. The quality of their apparel: from fabrics to lining to the finishing , the affordability of their clothes: especially, given the great quality of their fabrics & finishing.
Here our are favorite five from Ukti
The Udupi Handloom Crop Top: This is the kind of product Seethal and Supriya would like to create more of. It celebrates a local weave, with a simple versatile design that lets you wear it as a top or a blouse and has a look that is unique & identifiable.
Silk-Cotton Skirt in Yellow: A gorgeous gold color and a flattering fit come together to create one pretty skirt
Two-Sided Dress: We love these two-sided dresses, they are literally 2 dresses for the price of one! Supriya and Seethal say that they created these out of greed, because they wanted to buy all the ikat fabrics they found, but they didn’t have the budget for a spree!
Dusty Mauve A-Line Dress & Panel Top in Navy from our ‘Basically’ collection . A collection of basics in muted colours, just in time for the arrival of spring & summer. Crafted in luxurious cottons & linen-cotton with little details to delight you. Basically, it’s the basics you were looking for
In Near future Ukti plans to collaborate more with weavers, especially from Karnataka, to source fabrics from the grass-roots. ” We would like to contribute to the development & sustainability of local arts & crafts. We’re tying up with weavers from Udupi & Ilkal to source their traditional weaves and use a contemporary template to create the designs. This also helps us keep prices (slightly) low, while paying fair wages to the weaves. It’s important to us that we offer clothes, even handloom, at affordable prices, because that encourages more people to try handloom.”
They also want to open a flagship store sometime in the near future hopefully in Goa Not thatanyone ever needs an excuse to head to Goa every month. !
” We launched after a lot of mishaps and missteps, so when we were finally ready to launch – that was exciting & nervous. The encouraging feedback & reception we received at our first exhibition in Chitrakala Parishad. When a customer loved our clothes so much, she decided to do a feature on us in a magazine. Being treated like long-lost friends by the weaving community at our recent exploratory trip to Ilkal, witnessing their excitement at tying up with us. But most of all, every time a beautiful human buys from us and takes the effort to write to us or send us their picture. That is the best form of encouragement & love we could ask for.” Supriya and Sethal Ukti deserves all this love and encouragement and I am sure there is a lot more on its way …
Get your Ukti outfit here
and follow them on Instagram here.