Fashion

Friends of the Urth

Even as a child, Udairaj Arora, 25, the founder and CEO of Urth — a recently-launched ethical womenswear label — was a fashion renegade. Much to the chagrin of his teachers, he was the first in his school to wear low-waisted trousers (when it was fashionable). “Eventually, I got my pants tapered and cut off at the ankle when that became ‘in’,” he reveals, his voice laced with a tinge of pride. “I am always very expressive with my clothes. I dress solely based on mood.” He had even, he promised, worn a shirt that was tucked in because he knew he was going to have a (phone) interview with me.

Go eco-chic

After graduating in 2015 from Boston University with a degree in economics, and returning to India to work in digital marketing, Arora started planning for Urth (“pronounced ‘earth’, but honestly, we leave it to your interpretation”) last July. While the Delhi-based label does not use organic, sustainable-certified fabric because it is “too expensive”, it promotes environmental consciousness with a zero-waste policy, working with local NGOs to recycle and upcycle all the trimmings from its atelier. He has also dedicated a portion of the label’s sales to tree planting, hoping to plant 100 trees by September.

Though he considers himself a person of fashionable taste, Arora knew he wanted to work with a professionally-trained designer. After much searching, he was introduced to NIFT graduate Caroline Zeilang by a mutual friend. Zeilang, who now serves as Urth’s head designer, delivers minimalistic silhouettes, featuring sharp cuts, simple embellishments and a keen eye for material and texture. “I’m trying to deliver a product that takes ‘basic’ one level up, but not two levels,” emphasises Arora. The prices, starting at ₹1,700, are “not cheap, but are definitely in an affordable Zara-ish type of bracket”.

Fluid silhouettes

“A lot of our collection is desk-to-dinner wear,” he shares, revealing that the label’s muse — the Urthling — is the busy career woman who has no time to go home and change between work and a dinner engagement. “For instance, we have a white shirt called Mara, very minimalistic and with small detailing on the cuff. Now you tell me, how many times does one repeat a white shirt?” he asks rhetorically.

With plans to expand the label to men, kids and pets, Urth is also preparing for the launch of Friends of Urth, a proprietary programme that would allow even those without a large social media following to earn money through referrals.

Details at urthlabel.com. 9818796309; Follow their instagram handle @urthlabel


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Printable version | Jun 25, 2022 4:52:06 am | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/fashion/urth-label-puts-ecological-conservation-first/article23987272.ece