A love that we all hold deep in our heart, is the love towards our ancestral motherland. As we grow older that love becomes stronger, and we eventually gravitate towards where we truly belong – our home, our roots!
Today I launch my fashion label Urzuv, which aims at promoting Kashmiri craft across the world. It is a way for me to connect back to my roots, but more importantly, it is a small effort to bring the spotlight on the valley’s ornate craftsmanship, which is rarely spoken about.
For the unaware, Kashmir is popularly known as ‘Paradise on earth’ and is endowed with natural beauty that is incomparable. But, there is more to the valley beyond its natural splendor and picturesqueness. For centuries Kashmir was an important trading center due to its strategic position along the silk route, and because of which it absorbed many foreign cultural influences. The handicrafts comprising shawls, carpets, paper mache, wooden artifacts, Namdas, Crewel to name a few, created a niche for themselves in the world market because of their vibrant designs, intricate embroidery, fine weaving, and artistic excellence. From the finest Pashmina shawls to the illustrious Tilla embroidery outfits, Kashmiri ensembles are like family silver which are passed on from one generation to another.
While growing up I was always surrounded by Kashmir’s aesthetic, whether it was our home decor, traditional attires, tapestry, or other antiquities. I had observed many people appreciating the detailing and uniqueness of the products, but little did I know the value they held in the realms of art and craft. It was only a year back while I was prepping for my wedding and doing the customary bridal shopping that I noticed something.
As I browsed through the streets of Chandni Chowk and Lajpat Nagar I noticed that every market was flooded with traditional attires from across India, and in a plethora of designs and styles. Only Kashmiri outfits and designs were not available. Despite being one of the oldest and most decorated crafts, it was strange to see that Kashmiri clothing was underrepresented in mainstream fashion. This intrigued me and pushed me back to exploring the craft in much more detail, and thus began my journey of creating ‘Urzuv’.
Urzuv aims to bring a fresh perspective to a generations-old craft by establishing a new age brand that is authentic and contemporary. The conceptualization and tailoring are done in Bengaluru and the hand embroidery is executed through a team of artisans in Kashmir. We are starting operations today with select Aari embroidery and Pashminas stoles which will be followed by a festive collection in October!
Urzuv is my ode to Kashmir, a valley of unimaginable beauty and serenity. It is my sincere effort to offer the craft the acknowledgment it deserves, an endeavor to bring relevance to Kashmiri clothing and hope to showcase Kashmir in a new light.
This is a milestone in my journey, with hopefully many more to come!
PS: The word ‘Urzuv’ in Kashmiri means blessing. Urzuv Durkot is a term locally used to greet each other, wishing them to be blessed with a strong and healthy knee (‘kot’)!