We are super delighted to feature Ankita from Unees Bees – as our first artist from Gujarat. Unees Bees is an independent clothing label from Vadodara. They make beautiful handcrafted sarees, stoles and clothing using traditional methods like block printing and tie and dye, and combining them with contemporary prints. Here we chat up with the lovely lady to know more about Unees Bees.
- Hi Ankita! Super delighted to have you here as the first Gujarati artist on R&L. So tell us something about yourself. What was the inspiration behind the launch of the brand ‘Unees Bees’?
I was brought up in Vadodara (in Gujarat) and had always been more creatively inclined than Academic. Plus, growing up, my mother would always take me along to fabric shops around the city as she had an appreciation for textiles and garments – and that I picked up my my interest in garment making . When the time came to choose a career, clothing design was a clear choice. So I did my Bachelors in Fashion Design from M.S. University Vadodara, which provided a strong base in clothing and traditional textiles rather than just Fashion. Then I did an advance course in Merchandising from SASMIRA, Mumbai, which focused more on fashion and styling.
“After completing my studies, I started working with a Fashion house in Mumbai, where I got my first experience with fashion weeks and the glamor – only to realise that it wasn’t really for me. So I moved back home and started Unees Bees – which was my first experiment as an independent artist, to see how my designs would be received.I made a small collection of sarees, created a Facebook page and held an online sale, where all my pieces got sold out. This motivated me to go ahead and make more collections.That is how the brand came into existence.”
- What does the name ‘Unees Bees’ mean? How does it translate into what you endeavor to create, as a brand?
Unees-Bees are two words in the Hindi language that literally translates to 19 (Unees) and 20 ( Bees). These two words are often used together to form a phrase meaning, “a minor difference”. This Phrase has been used commonly in the sartorial sense for years, especially when talking about colour matching. Unees Bees is an Independent clothing label focusing on Sarees and Stoles made using traditional techniques like Hand Block Printing and Tie and Dye.
“Through our designs, we endeavour to embrace the beauty that lies in imperfection that is inevitable in anything Hand Made. Be it that extra drop of dye that fell on the fabric while Hand Block Printing, the irregularity of tie and dye or the patchy appearance of indigo dyeing. We love the aesthetic appearance that can only be a result of Hand Crafting. And thus, the name “Unees Bees”.
Over the years, I have worked with block printers in Kutch, Sanganer and of course locally in Vadodara. I like experimenting with traditional block print techniques combined with contemporary designs to create unique work of art.
- So where do you guys retail?
Initially, we used to supply to over 10 stores (both brick and mortar and Online), which helped us gain an audience around the country. But now we mainly retail through exhibitions, our facebook page and a couple of select stores.
“It is great to see more and more people moving towards independent designers who are selling slow handmade clothing rather than fast fashion. There is a growing tribe of conscious consumers now, and this encourages designers like me to create more!” ~ Ankita
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