The current times demand ethical and responsible fashion. Two critical aspects of fast fashion – environmental hazard and the dying handlooms and handicrafts of India inspired three young students of fashion to found brand Utpatti – their main aim being trying to build a sustainable ecosystem rather than just making profit out of a clothing line.

“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking, we used to create them,” said Albert Einstein, which clearly indicates that it is us who need to alter whatever it takes to sustain our planet. The glam and shine of the fast fashion world cleverly shadows the unthinkable amounts of pollution that are embedded deeply into the supply chain, which most buyers are either unaware or choose to remain ignorant of. Label Utpatti is the brainchild of three young students of fashion: Pranab Panda, Kuldeep Das and Priyanka Behera who were quite moved by the two critical aspects of fast fashion – environmental hazard and the dying handlooms and handicrafts of India.

Utpatti denotes an ecosystem connecting the rural artisans, explorations of contemporary designs along with inspirations from upcoming trends. Utpatti was initiated with a vision to celebrate the craftsmanship of our weavers and attempts to present our age old tradition on the world stage. It aims to revive the antique, perfectly crafted handloom weaves of Odisha with contemporary designs and product diversification catering to the urban market. The purpose is to promote the traditional knowledge and rural weaves amongst the millennials while reducing impact on the environment. As fashion students, the founders had the chance to visit many clusters through Craft Based Product Development (CBPD) projects and get in contact with craftsmen and weavers who specialised in different crafts. They had a picture of this brand in the back of their mind and a plan for execution since July 2019; they finally launched their brand in May 2020.

At the onset, the brand’s product range revolved around apparels, handloom saris along with hand-crafted accessories. But the restrictions of COVID-19 brought in the challenges of transportation and communication, and also influenced consumer demands. This is when the trio started introducing handloom and ikat multilayered masks for their consumers. The target consumers of label Utpatti are literate, fashion conscious buyers who take sustainability seriously and have interest in the rich culture and craft of India. The brand ensured that potential consumers like the millennials were well informed about the consequences of fast fashion, the story of craftsmen of India, importance of slow fashion as a responsible buyer and how they could connect to their roots. All this was possible through constant updates through the brand’s social media platforms and Instagram posts which were interesting means of promotion.

Utpatti has a wide variety of product range which includes ethnic wears cut in handloom fabrics, handloom saris, suits, skirts, top, formal and casual wear for men and women along with handicrafts from different clusters of Odisha which include applique, pattachitra, papier mache, jute bags, sabai and golden grass, bamboo work, tribal art, odkra products, terracotta, wood craft etc. Its USP lies in contemporary designs into which the traditional handloom is incorporated. The Utpatti team identified the gap between consumers’ interest and designs made by artisans which were mainly based on same old fashioned colour schemes, repetitive motifs in dress materials, ethnic wears and saris. Label Utpatti brings into play trendy minimalism into the motifs, colour palettes like pastels etc. Bold and unique patterns, vibrant yet subtle blend of colours, unique tie and dye effects and a luxuriant texture characterise the clothes of Utpatti.

Currently, the brand is connected to 13 clusters of Odisha.

Odisha is famous for its silk ikat weaves—an intricate process (bandha) in which wrap and weft threads are first tied and then dyed to produce the designed pattern on the loom while weaving. Some of the commonly used motifs include rows of birds, animals, fish, seashells, rudraksh beads and temple spires. The most popular and flagship item of tie and dye type textiles of Odisha is the sari. Some typical varieties of Odisha saris are khanduas, saktapada, tarabaliand bichitrapuri, to name a few, made both in cotton and silk. However, the weavers also weave some other items like bed covers, dress materials, handkerchiefs, lungi and gamuchas (towels). The villages of Sonepur, Kendpalli and Bargard of Sambalpur are known for their natural vegetable dyes and the beautiful sambalpuri weave.

Similarly, the Berhampur patta saris are handloom silk saris unique in beauty and comfort while Koraput tribals do wonders with dogra crafts. Label Utpatti strives to grasp all these beautiful craftsmanship under one roof for their consumers. Its iconic rakhis with sabai grass and handloom masks became synonymous with sustainability on social media platforms.

The founders discuss among themselves the designs and motifs along with texture and colour scheme of the fabric. The same is communicated to the artisans who procure the raw materials as per requirement. This makes the brand free from raw material inventory, hence free from waste. The finished products are packaged with sustainable materials like muslin bags, above 51 micron recyclable plastic poly bags for water resistance, paper bags, jute bags, and cardboard boxes. The packaging materials are also outsourced from Self Help Groups (SHGs) and small artisan family vendors from Delhi and Chennai.

The transportation and logistics are also outsourced from private courier services. The founders have taken baby steps towards a sustainable ecosystem and lifestyle. Their tie-up with the artisans helps to educate them with the recent trends and designs. They are working on zero-hunger projects and putting efforts for zero waste supply-chain which will result in least hazard to the environment with tools like recycling, reusing and using eco-friendly raw materials for manufacturing. With all these strategies and mission on board, they earn a monthly profit of Rs 40,000-50,000 which even escalates to Rs 80,000-1 lakh during festive season. The founders plan to expand their brand further by collaborations with influencers and celebrities and look forward to work with crafts from all over the country.


We would like to thank Kuldeep Das for sharing his valuable inputs for the article.

About the authors: Sukanya Pothal and Shreya Shivangi are students studying Bachelor in Fashion technology from NIFT, Bhubaneswar.