In the world of art, some creations go beyond mere aesthetics and become cherished pieces in family history. The story of Akutee, a clothing brand started by Sagarika Ghatge with her mother, Urmila, invites us to explore the family roots that nurtured its creation. Rooted in history, artistic skill, and refined taste, the brand draws inspiration from the timeless elegance of the Ghatge family’s women and their royal lineage. It embodies a heritage rooted in a love for artistry, a tradition passed down from mothers to daughters. The act of painting saris becomes more than personal expression—it transforms into a sacred ritual of connecting with the past, a way to tell and preserve familial tales. “All of our material is sourced from India,” says Sagarika. “To keep that authenticity, the fabrics we are using are all hand woven as well and hand embroidered. Our weavers are the ones who do it.”
From a young age, Urmila, Sagarika’s mother, immersed herself in the world of painting. Her inspiration came from the vibrant florals that adorned the family garden, finding their way onto the canvas of her saris. Urmila’s artistic journey began at the tender age of 16, and over the years, it evolved into a family tradition.The act of painting extended beyond personal adornment to become a way of expressing love and preserving family history. For generations, the women in Sagarika’s family have adorned themselves with these painted masterpieces. As a child, she recalls the enchanting presence of elegant women at family gatherings, draped in chanderis, chiffons, tissues, and brocades. The simplicity of their jewellery – a string of pearls, glass bangles, and a few diamonds – exuded understated yet captivating beauty. The saris became a tangible link to the past, a testament to the grace and poise that defined the women of the family.
Hand-painted and hand-woven pieces from Akutee’s collection
“Growing up around them, I always felt like, ‘Oh my God, I want to grow up and be like that!’ So I think that’s where the inspiration for Akutee – a word which means princess – emerged,” says Sagarika Ghatge.
The Akutee collection is a beautiful tribute to the Ghatge family’s enduring legacy, spanning almost 100-150 years. Inspired by cherished familial artefacts, this collection weaves a narrative that transcends time, offering a glimpse into a bygone era. Guided by the artistic touch of the Sagarika’s mother, Akutee’s hand-painted floral patterns reflect a deep appreciation for nature. Evolving into a signature style, these patterns encapsulate the essence of familial aesthetics and sartorial expression.
Crafted with meticulous care, each piece in the Akutee collection celebrates artisanal skill. Every garment is a labour of love, from hand embroidery to hand painting and the creation of handwoven tissue sarees. This commitment to manual artistry not only adds a unique touch but also preserves traditional craftsmanship in an age marked by mass production.
Urmila and Sagarika Ghatge
Akutee encapsulates a timeless essence that seamlessly intertwines the past with the present, crafting something meaningful for contemporary women. It embodies a sense of unhurried elegance—a quiet, understated luxury that doesn’t demand attention but subtly draws admirers in. Akutee operates as a “pull brand,” enticing those who are drawn to its intrinsic value rather than aggressively pushing a trend. “Today everything in Akutee has been passed down from generations, so the buyer of Akutee needs to look at it as a piece of art meant to be treasured and passed down in the family,” says Sagarika.
At the heart of Akutee is a mindful approach and purposeful intentionality. It goes beyond a passing fashion trend, serving as a considerate investment meant to endure through generations. Every component in Akutee bears the weight of history, having been handed down over time. In a technology-driven age, Akutee quietly underscores the lasting appeal of handmade creations. Each stroke and thread narrate tales of dedication, patience, and a profound connection to the past. The collection not only showcases the timeless elegance of familial artefacts but also emphasises the importance of passing on age-old craftsmanship to future generations.
Words by Esha Aphale.
Image courtesy Sagarika Ghatge (Akutee).
Cover Image: Sagarika Ghatge