Urmi: A Fashion Tribute to the Rich History of Malabar

The House of Urmi emerges as a unique and sustainable brand, weaving the tales and melodies of Malabar’s North Coast into captivating art. With their shirt collection celebrating the leisurely spirit of women from the fisher community, Urmi pays a heartfelt tribute to its origins. In an enlightening conversation with PinkLungi, the founder, Anjali Ashok, shares her inspiring journey into fashion illustration and the brand’s inception, leaving us in awe of Urmi’s vision and creativity. This exceptional brand stands as a testament to the power of art and storytelling, leaving a lasting impression on all who embrace its essence.

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Anjali Ashok, founder of Urmi

What is the concept behind the brand name Urmi?

I have always been looking for an opportunity to create something through which I can illustrate my art. With so many amazing brands out there, I knew that I wanted to create something that would truly stand out. I believe that it is important to bring something new to the market that would be different from what is already available. Art has always been my medium for self-expression and communication, and I hope to bring that same level of creativity and communication to my brand.

That’s when I came up with URMI – the clothing brand where I could equally exhibit my love for art and everyone, irrespective of gender and size, could have access to it. So when I had the idea for this clothing brand, I started searching for names that expressed the true essence of my brand. I did come up with quite a few, but none of them truly justified my idea. When I came across the name ‘URMI’, I knew it had everything it took to be the perfect name. It was unique and didn’t necessarily imply that it was just any other clothing brand.

How did you end up in fashion illustration?

I have always loved art and painting ever since I was a kid. I used to do portraits and paintings when I was in school. In college, I did a degree in architecture; that’s when I could learn the illustrative side of art. With the developing world or changing era, fashion illustration became a thing. That’s when I launched my first clothing brand for hand-painted sarees. When it received immense love and acceptance, I took it to the next level by launching a different brand where I could illustrate my art and express the roots of our culture through fashion illustration.

Could you take us through the illustration and printing process of Urumi shirts?

Initially, I wasn’t sure how to express my ideas. To find inspiration, I read books and traveled to different places. As I immersed myself in the culture, my vision became clearer. I was able to create a narrative and express it through hand-painted illustrations. These illustrations are then printed onto eco-friendly fabrics. Additionally, I am fortunate to have a wonderful team who assists me in bringing my ideas to life through stitching.

What is your inspiration for the prints on your shirts?

As I mentioned earlier, I wanted the clothes in my brand to tell a story, so when I had this idea, I traveled around looking for stories, art forms, literature, festivals -basically everything that expressed the culture of Malabar. Honestly, putting my ideas into art wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be. I believe that with the changing world and technology, most of us have left behind our heritage, all I had to do was to pick it up from where it was left behind, and the love that I have received so far for my brand shows that no matter what, people still thrive for their culture and heritage.

Are fashion illustration and digital printing the future of fashion?

I think so. The whole concept of fashion has now changed. A decade ago, something like this would have been questionable, but now everyone has their own idea of what being fashionable means. In the past, fashion was solely about purchasing expensive clothes, but this has changed. Nowadays, people seek unique, authentic, and comfortable clothing. I don’t think that fashion illustration and digital printing are the only future of fashion, but they represent another aspect of this industry. I feel grateful to have been a part of this sphere of fashion.

Urmi stands as a shining example of how art and creativity can bring communities together and leave an indelible mark on the world. Embracing Urmi means embracing a piece of Malabar’s soul, and the brand’s uniqueness certainly sets it apart as a true gem in the world of fashion and storytelling.

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