AYDUA Jeans: A marriage of fashion and art by two Cantabs, India and Amy

Student brand, AYDUA jeans, represents a much needed shift in Cambridge towards fine art


Denim artists and Art Historians India Ayles and Amy Murgatroyd are bridging the gap between textiles and fine art with what started as a bedroom project and is now a business.

Chewing my lip in novice journalistic angst, they instantly make me feel at home as they passionately tell me the story behind AYDUA jeans.

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Meet Amy (left) and India

How did you come up with AYDUA?

Amy: Last year, India and I customised lots of clothes in our spare time and we’d make costumes for various plays. We’d just chill in each other’s rooms and paint and embroider our own clothes.

India: This then went from a hobby to a business when we realised we wanted to create wearable art. We loved the idea of people being able to wear art. So we now make custom jeans for individual people, both men and women.

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Stabilo Boss, take note

Talk me through your creative process

India: Either we source the jeans ourselves or the person gives us their own ones. We then get a sense for who the person is, either through email or meeting them through a friend of a friend or however. From there, we start drawing loads (i.e just doodling everywhere), then chalk on the final design, paint and sew it on by hand.

Amy: We’re starting with jeans because they’re humble and functional. Everybody wears them so it’s fun to give them a bit of character. It’s really about craft instead of being something you just can buy in a shop. We do embroidery, and use fabric paint to hopefully create something unique that can affect people’s everyday mentality, and hopefully brighten their day! For example, we often paint nude bodies onto our jeans to remind ourselves of what we constantly seek to cover. And for some, it’s unexpected yet refreshing.

India: It’s also so nice to see your friend wearing a pair of AYDUA jeans, and see them beaming. The jeans are quite eccentric and it feels good to get smiles from people reacting to their various details, their tactility and humour.

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Cheeky

What’s the story behind the name “AYDUA”?

India: It’s actually my middle name! Aydua was a crazy, old lady who was a distant cousin of the family. She was such a character, from having the dirtiest sense of humour to always cheating at games and smoking too many cigarettes. Her Father named her after an Etruscan tribe. She led a very wonderful and interesting life, from being one of the first women at Oxford to being the keeper of the Queen’s picture collection. We felt her eccentric character really matched the jeans.

Easily mistaken for Gaugian's 'And The Gold Of Their Bodies'...

Easily mistaken for Gaugain’s ‘And The Gold Of Their Bodies’…

 

Who do you draw inspiration from?

India: Loads of artists, particularly women that are crossing boundaries between art and practicality. Niki de Saint Phalle and Sonia Delaunay, for example, have really inspired us.

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Niki de Saint Phalle’s Tarot garden, fusing art with everyday life

Why is there not much art going on in Cambridge?

Amy: There’s so much music and theatre going on here, but Art isn’t nearly as widely recognized. I think it’s because there are no means of showing or exhibiting art other than Arcsoc, so people don’t really do it. We’re trying to group people together, from sculptors to embroiders, and in fact anyone who wants to make art – so if anyone wants to get in touch with us then please do!

And finally, who would be your dream customer?

India: Iris Apfel, definitely. She was a textile designer, and is now a fashion icon and basically hoarder of wonderful objects at ninety-four years old! A great documentary about her was recently made that’s definitely worth a watch.


For more details check out AYDUA Jeans on Facebook.