Get to Know Umbara

Umbara products are crafted exclusively by women - the intent and vision is to empower women from financially weak and vulnerable backgrounds and enable them to realize their potential. Each time you buy an Umbara garment, you can be sure that each head, hand and heart that was involved in creating it, gets its due - we have been practising ethical sourcing much before the phrase became fashionable!

Intent and Vision

Umbara is Rama Narayanan’s baby. Rama has two decades experience in the fabric and clothing industry (Shahi exports, Kalre, Gokaldas Images). She is an alumnus of NIFT, New Delhi (class of 1992).

Having closely observed women from less privileged backgrounds, she felt that women garment workers deserve much better: a work environment that is not just safe, non-exploitative and non-discriminatory, but also one that draws out their innate creative potential. Thus was born Umbara in 2009.

Another important thread in Umbara's tapestry is the application of India's rich textile heritage. By and large, fashion houses and designer labels have positioned textile heritage as exclusive and exotic. Export houses on the other hand, have focused on consistency and efficiency rather than innovation or preservation, in line with the world market's expectations of them. Umbara strives to change this by reaching our country's textile richness to the discerning customer, both in India and abroad. We believe in ethical sourcing and invests in social responsibility and fair trade and take pride in stating that we are a zero waste enterprise.

In all the work that Umbara does in the value-added clothing space, these elements come together.


Umbara is also involved in

  • Skill development based on an understanding of hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills; we have achieved remarkable success with women from diverse backgrounds and abilities, including the differently able.
  • Simplifying production processes by creating tighter production cycles.
  • Training dressmakers and tailors in the art and science of custom made clothing.
  • Teaching and mentoring - Rama was visiting faculty at NIFT Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad in an industrial interface capacity.


What Makes Us Different

All our products are crafted by women – The textiles space is dominated by men – tailors/’masterjis’, craftsmen/embroiderers, master weavers.....When frontiers of space exploration, air defence and deep sea diving have been conquered by women, can fabrics and garments be far behind? We believe in empowering women so they can, in turn, facilitate a better environment of development for their families.

We believe in ethical sourcing and fair trade – ‘Best deals’ and ‘unbelievable prices’ often mean that someone, somewhere was not given his/her due – desperate to get the income, that individual was forced to settle for less. In all the work we do, we ensure that no one is squeezed, we take pride that we give every head, heart and hand its due.