Prerna Sinha has a deep love and appreciation for the traditional Indian garment, the saree. While sarees used to be one of the most common forms of dress for women in the subcontinent, as Western fashion has become more popular, the saree has retreated into the background only to be worn for holidays and weddings. But Sinha is trying to change that with her clothing company, Urbane Essence, a line of luxury handcrafted sarees. Today the Bangalore, India-based entrepreneur wants women to embrace the timeless fashion along with her brand’s goal to make women feel confident and beautiful in what they wear.
Sinha’s story, as told to The Story Exchange 1,000+ Stories Project:
The brand Urbane-Essence goes a few steps beyond its literal meaning to perpetuate the spirit of new-age India by redefining the new normal. New age India thrives on body inclusivity and the debunking of societal norms and judgements. New age India is all about the freedom to dress up.
Sarees, are no doubt, one of the oldest forms of clothing in India that date back to the period of the Indus Valley Civilization that flourished around 2800 BC in the Indian subcontinent.
The six yards of pure elegance was embraced by the rich culture of ancient India and later became the quintessential clothing for women in the country.
But this profound love for sarees saw a massive fall when its western counterparts were introduced into the country. Women would choose comfort over elegance. The sarees would sit hopelessly in the wardrobes of modern women collecting dust for years, waiting for that once in a blue moon moment.
Urbane Essence was founded by my mother and I. We are extremely fond of Sarees and very fascinated by their effortlessness and versatility. Through this platform, we are keen on celebrating the timelessness of this traditional attire by making it mainstream once again.
I want to take the brand global, and make every woman fall in love with herself. I want women across the globe to be free of body shaming by embracing their feminine side and wearing an Urbane Essence saree.
I feel one achieves success by following a combination of hard work, determination and a vision towards pushing yourself further. Everyday you strive to be better at the game. Learning lessons and overcoming challenges goes a long way in achieving success.
Personally, to me, success means leading a happy, joyful and peaceful life where I enjoy my personal and professional life the same way.
The biggest achievement throughout the journey has been the synergy that the brand has been able to create. At our launch, we had people from all across the globe visiting us on the website – from different parts of America, Europe, West Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Southeast Asia and of course, India.
We received an enormous response from people keen on associating or even working for the brand in less than 15 days of the launch. A huge number of people from the saree community are reaching out to us to collaborate. So the love and warmth the brand has received is overwhelming, because the brand itself stands for making ‘women fall in love with themselves’, for helping them overcome body shaming and embracing their feminine self.
I also feel honoured to have sourced collections that highlight the craftsmanship of tribal artists from the country whose work usually goes unnoticed.
Establishing ourselves as a trustworthy brand in a market which is quite crowded with other brands was a big challenge. As a brand, we are trying to stand out by ensuring that our message resonates with our target audience. Our message is a shout out to all the women out there to love themselves and embrace their beauty. And there is no better way to love one than by draping oneself in the attire of their choice!
My most important role models are Indra Nooyi, Oprah Winfrey and Priyanka Chopra