She’s best known for the challenging roles she essayed in Aisha, Blood Money and Kai Po Che!, but not as many people know of Amrita Puri’s passion for fabric. Now she’s running her own label, called Akuri by Puri, with her mother. “My mother and I just love fabric. We always end up buying a lot of it whenever we travel. It so happened that we bought so much of it that it was way beyond our own personal use,” says Puri. She talks about India’s distinction when it comes to embroidery, textiles and design. “You have block printing in Ahmedabad, mirrorwork in Gujarat, move to Jaipur and you find bandhini; it’s such a rich tradition and there’s so much to explore across the country.”
The material they had inadvertently hoarded pushed Amrita Puri and her mother, Smiley Puri, to experiment; and by August 2014, they had established Akuri by Puri, which, she says, is “inspired by our love for fabric.” While the label is heavily inspired by Indian fabric, their line of clothes is not typically “Indian”. “My mother does the Indian designs, while I do the Indo-Western. The material we use is brought together from across the country. The designs are classy and elegant, primarily worn by the urban consumers looking for easy, chic dressing options. The collection is an eclectic mix and we design what we’d enjoy wearing ourselves. The idea is that the clothes should make you feel good, besides being comfortable,” she explains.
The label doesn’t serve as a career shift for Puri; it’s just something she enjoys doing in her free time with her mother. Speaking about the workforce involved with getting Akuri by Puri out there, she says, “It’s just me and my mum. Honestly, we started this on a very small scale. But it has been growing very fast and I am now looking to hire more people.” Earlier this summer, Akuri by Puri was added to the list of designer labels on Pernia’s Pop up Shop as well. “Getting listed on Pernia’s did get us attention from people who weren’t aware of this brand. But it was actually the exhibitions that we hosted through all of last year that gave us recognition. Also, because I act, a lot of magazines gave us coverage in the early days, which also helped in promoting the brand.”
What sets apart Akuri by Puri from their contemporaries is that they design an exclusive collection. “We don’t make a thousand pieces in the same colour or pattern. We make limited pieces, which makes our customers feel good and they have something different when they buy and wear something from us. There is a strict focus on quality, to create customer satisfaction,” she says proudly.