At its heart, Shiuli is a minimalist, design-centric, limited edition label that is completely handcrafted. This means that every saree we make starts out as a pure white or cream fabric. Onto this canvas, we render shapes, patterns and colours.
Being design centric means that we design and make a limited number of sarees each season and every year, focussing on working with the purest fabric and unique combinations of techniques.
Why do we do this?
Because what we love most about creating sarees from scratch, is in pushing the boundaries of what is possible.
This has led to some amazing discoveries, some of which have found their way into our line. Hand done baatik on pure Kancheepuram silk for instance, or daabu on handwoven Kancheepuram silk, every Shiuli saree is unique in that it carries our trademark _minimalist aesthetics and a deep commitment to creating something that is timeless and enduring.
Design for us is an immersive experience.
We travel wherever craft takes us, living in villages and spending our days amongst looms and printing tables. Everyday we learn and learn and learn. We create our own blocks, hand stitch our shibori sarees and have developed the design for every single kalamkaari and batik saree in our line. We ask our artisans and weavers why some things are possible and some are not. And we hope that we are helping them expand the scope of their skills while we absorb from them the deep rooted traditions of weave and embellishment. Every saree we create is a unique synergy of their knowledge and our desire to create something never seen before.
So, when you own a Shiuli saree, you own something that has been through repeated iterations in design and process to arrive at something unlike any other.
We often refer to Shiuli, as a labour of love. Turns out we are not the only ones who think so.
Right from the word go, our little label has received immeasurable love from a collective of talented and generous individuals who have shared our vision of creating a unique line of sarees that are timeless classics. Thanks to them, there is never a dull moment in our behind the scenes story. They have contributed in countless ways to help us create, showcase, grow and learn, year after year, with no expectation of being compensated for their generosity. As we evolve we hope to continue to grow organically and give back for the many gifts we have received.
Helming every day affairs and losing sleep over designs, however, are a motley crew of three.
Design commander-in-chief, Uma is a live wire who dreams in technicolour of textures and techniques that slowly find their way into silk and cotton. When she is not traveling through hinterland India to work with weavers and artisans, you will find her in Kerala moonlighting as a defacto yoga instructor or cooking. We can bet that she can tell one fabric from another, blindfolded. While we think of her as picky and fussy, we grudgingly admit that it's her discerning eye that makes every Shiuli saree a stand- out.
From her secluded retreat on the backwaters of Kerala, Priya runs, manages and keeps her eagle eye out on the daily running of our little label. A saree aficionado herself, we believe that she does what she does with never ending commitment because of her love for every single design in our line. Unwavering in her belief that we are creating hitherto unseen classics, she is an integral part of the Shiuli ecosystem.
ShikhaDesign manager and photographer, Shikha is the think tank at Shiuli. Planning collections, communication, visual language and look and feel are all handled by her. When imaginations run wild she reminds us of practical considerations consistently helping us balance our designer-ly instincts with market insights and the value of creating something that endures. A true-blue NIDian, she practices the philosophy of the design movement of learning by doing.