Sarees and tradition go hand in hand for Indian women. Considering the cultural cauldron India is, every community and state demands different style of drapes, patterns, motifs, even length and height of the saree, which are typically influenced by the specific religious, geographical and historical references.
Sarees were once perceived as either the attire for moms and grandmothers or festive wear. That perception has changed dramatically over the last few years. Awareness of traditional handloom weaves and authentic styles has increased, thus rekindling and interest of the young fashionistas. The traditional wear has now become the new fashion statement.
Launched in September 2015, “Sophistication in silk” is how the brand Utppalakshi defined itself. Founded by empowered and elegant women from one family, Shanthi Subbiah, Kalpana Ananthaswamy and Chitrabala Mohan, their individual knowledge of authentic traditional weaving methods combined with modern aesthetics and their love for Kanchipuram sarees is reflective of the wonderful collection they carry. Their logo, the fish, is inspired by the motif on the border of a saree our ex-Prime Minister Indira Gandhi wore, which is what inspired Shanthi to fall in love with sarees as a young maiden.
A genuine Kanchipuram silk saree with pure zari at an affordable price is a hard find in the market today, and a buyer can be certain of this combination being available at Utppalakshi. Everything about this brand and the collection they carry is reflective of the love for sarees and the discerning eye of the owners, who either handpick or design every saree for their customers.
The team at Utppalakshi work directly with traditional weavers/tharis. Their interest in reviving old traditional colours, combinations, motifs and weaving styles are reflective of both their knowledge on the subject and their passion to bring the old traditional styles back. Working directly with weavers also helps them ensure quality control, eliminate middle men, thereby make the sarees more affordable to the end consumer.
When one thinks Kanchipuram silk one immediately thinks mainly of festive wear and bridal wear. While the focus of this brand is only Kanchipuram silk sarees, the owners do not restrict it to only traditional weaves. The brand not only carries collections for different occasions, they also carry exquisitely hand embroidered Kanchipuram silk sarees and other exclusive one-off pieces which are a style statement in any woman’s wardrobe. Running materials, duppattas, stoles, pattu pavadais and the traditional 9 yards in Kanchipuram silk are also available at the store.
The bridal collection is one of the kind. Exclusive designs and combinations embellished with quality workmanship, silk and zari ensures that the saree drapes and falls well around every bride.
To attain the quality of hand embroidery on the sarees, it takes between three months to a year to embroider and is a visual treat to the discerning eye. Every saree’s detailing is meticulously planned and executed with the highly skilled artisans. In keeping with the Kalamkari fashion that is ruling India currently, Utppalakshi has one-off Kalamkari “hand painted” sarees which distinguishes them and their collection from the mass-produced block printed sarees.
Breaking the cliché of Kanchipuram sarees are meant only for festive wear, Utppalakshi carries a range for evening wear and corporate/ business wear. Their collection is elegant, timeless and understated, a perfect combination to turn all heads.
Brands cater to either the mass or the class, and Utppalakshi has made a conscious choice to only cater to the quality conscious classy audience who can and will appreciate the quality and the style they carry. From thread count per inch to quality of zari or silk, thorough check is done before presenting a saree to a customer. To ensure younger generation both understands and finds our traditional Kanchipuram sarees appealing, much care is given to colours, styles and designs. Once quality is experienced, no one settles for any lesser, which probably explains why the brand has grown to becoming very popular in such a short span of time, attracting repeat customers who vouch for the brand.
No stone is left unturned by the brand. Whether it is their collection, their customer service, communication or their social media presence. This small brand has grown very popular on social media thanks to their attention for detail and for their traditional yet fashionable collection.