Published: 26th June 2020
Meet the Fashion Design student from Odisha who's illustrating books covers with LGBTQIA+ motifs
Are you looking for a notepad? Then Nude should be your go-to place because they're covers are adorned with interesting LGBTQIA+ themed designs and come with infographics about the community too
When Article 377 that deems sexual activities 'against the order of nature' illegal was diluted back in 2018, Ankita Das and Punyasloka Panda were jubilant but Ankita, who is pursuing Fashion Designing from NIFT Bhubaneswar, wondered why there is no brand that offers exclusive genderless clothing in spite of many of them launching exclusive collections. Mulling over this plan for over two years, Ankita realised that this idea would need investment. So instead of dumping the idea outright, she decided to set out for the slow climb to reach her goal by starting another venture, Nude, which was launched just this month.
Genderless heart on your cover?
Imagine multiple rainbow lips titled Flagged Speeches, a rainbow coloured popsicle titled Lustrous Cream, ungendered fingers, queered wall and many such LGBTQIA+ related illustrations on the cover of a notepad and on the last page, are infographics about the community itself. This is how the duo are fighting misinformation about the community through creative design and illustration. Why did they choose to go down this route, we wonder. "We realised that we and our friends actually have little knowledge about the spectrum of the LGBTQIA+ community and the people of Odisha weren’t informed either," shares Ankita. Well, it won't be wrong if we say that most of us have googled terms like asexual, intersex and so on. So the notebooks would indeed help in spreading the correct information.
Happily pride | (Pic: Nude)
A word about the designs, it's like nothing you have ever seen. Relespedent rainbow eyeshadow, colourful clouds, quirky nail art — wherever did she draw inspiration from? The good folk at NIFT, it turns out. Before Article 377 was struck down, male closeted members of the LGBTQIA+ community at NIFT would don nail paint and express themselves in smaller ways, but once the draconian dictum was diluted they came out in more colourful ways, eyelash extensions, lipstick, eyeshadow, the works. Their make up is what inspired Ankita's aesthetic covers. She usually hand-paints the designs, scans them and makes alterations digitally then sends them over to Punyasloka, who prints them as he has a tie-up with a publisher in place already.
While for the infographics that feature on the last page of the notepad, the duo referred to the various credible sources available on the internet. There is information about transgenders; about the Mitr Foundation that is fighting the good fight when it comes to LGBTQIA+ awareness in India and about Odisha's very own folk dance, Gotipua, for which, boys dress as girls and dance for Lord Jagannath. How cool is that?
Clouds fo love | (Pic: Nude)
Come and get 'em with Pride
And these notebooks are selling like hotcakes in Odisha, specifically Bhubaneswar, Dhenkanal, Baripada and other areas in the coastal state. "I was very selective about the designs that would finally make it to the cover. I made sure I ran them by some friends before they were printed," says Ankita who is a stickler for clean and neat designs. And by making these illustrations she set to work her latent doodling and drawing talent as well. Her artwork on the covers conveys the message of inclusivity quite clear.
For now, these books are available in only select cities of Odisha and in Delhi and one can place an order via their Instagram page. Soon, they want to start their own range of masks and launch a website too before they make the big jump towards their original goal — genderless clothing.
Lustrous cream | (Pic: Nude)
For more on them, check out instagram.com/____n.u.d.e____
This Pride Month we're celebrating diversity in its truest, most leveling form by bringing to you stories of hope and great cheer from the LGBTQIA+ community from across India in our new series Matter of Pride. If you'd like to reach out to any of them or need help, reach out to us WhatsApp at +917358029990