The Bollywood actress Alia Bhatt walked into this year’s Met Gala in a Prabal Gurung dress woven with swaths of pearls, sporting a single fingerless glovelette — reminiscent of Karl Lagerfeld’s personal style. Studded with pearls, the leather glovelette carried an OH V monogram with a stallion head, surrounded by an onyx dragonfly, imago butterflies and a Kaputt crystal. The monogram is a signature house aesthetic for Outhouse Jewelry, a brand created by two sisters: Kaabia and Sasha Grewal.
The monogram is ever-present in each piece of jewelry they create, signifying metamorphosis and a move beyond conventional femininity. It was adopted five years into the brand’s conception, forever celebrating that milestone. The pieces “are inspired from our travels,” Kaabia Grewal, 37, said. And even when “they’re bridal, they can still be very contemporary.”
Outhouse has steadily crossed international waters in its popularity. “You would never take a look at their collection and peg it as just an Indian jewelry brand,” said Archana Thani, a jewelry curator and consultant as well as the former managing editor of Vogue India.
Outhouse’s creations have made several red carpet appearances on celebrities. At the Met Gala last year, Megan Thee Stallion wore the brand’s envie mini stud earrings featuring a lophorina bird in rose-gold and crystals. And during last year’s New York Fashion Week, Kourtney Kardashian was decked out in the jeweler’s scorpia nova stud earrings in ivory pearls and a silver-plated choker. Fans of the brand’s playful jewelry include, among others, Beyoncé, Halle Bailey, Cardi B, Kim Kardashian, Olivia Rodrigo and Joey King.
Kaabia Grewal believes the jewelry they create is not only for weddings, but can accompany everyday apparel as well. To tie Ms. Bhatt’s Met Gala look to Indian bridal traditions, the customary hand-strung jasmines were reimagined as pearls with a touch of edgy silver spikes, said Anaita Adajania Shroff, Ms. Bhatt’s stylist for the event.
“While Outhouse’s jewelry and bags are made in India using Indian crafting techniques, their designs have always been global,” Praachi Raniwala, a freelance fashion and lifestyle journalist, said in an email. “I have seen images of their wedding-focused collections being worn by many brides who are of non-Indian origin.”
The sisters grew up in Ludhiana, Punjab, India, which has a long history of women wearing heavy jewelry and learning to curate and collect jewelry at their mother’s knee. The royal history of the city Patiala inspired the sisters’ dark romance collection, featuring traditional structural silhouettes and healing coruscating crystals.
Motifs are integral to most of their designs, which begin from what inspires them. “It could be something very emotional,” Sasha Grewal, 36, said, “or something that I’ve been seeing every day, like a flower.” How they feel, what a piece should feel like to a client and what the soul of the concept is are all significant factors. The holiday collection they recently launched was intended to evoke the sense of freedom one enjoys on a holiday.
After studying industrial design and fine jewelry at the Indian Institute of Gems & Jewelry, Kaabia Grewal moved to New York in 2005 to study at the Gemological Institute of America. Soon after, she was interning with Eddie Borgo, a jewelry designer in New York. Because of an injury, Sasha Grewal could not attend the Gemmological Association of Great Britain, and instead moved to London to work with a jewelry designer.
In 2011, after Kaabia Grewal returned from New York and Sasha Grewal was ready to move on, they realized they wanted to design jewelry together for their own company — so Outhouse was born. After a few trunk shows to test the market, they were invited to showcase their collection at 2012’s Lakmé Fashion Week in Delhi, a coveted spot for Indian designers. “There was no looking back after that,” Sasha Grewal said.
Outhouse was one of the first brands to strategically use Instagram, keeping the company’s marketing fresh and young, while targeting fashion-forward consumers who care about the craftsmanship process. The sisters would conduct trend studies to universalize their concepts, and then house craftsmen would hammer, melt and bend a piece from its mold to its final stone setting.
At the time, their three-person team did not even have a store. People would hunt them down in their 200-square-foot office at Shahpur Jat in Delhi. Over time, magazine editorials began featuring their pieces, and a new generation of Bollywood style icons — like Ms. Bhatt and Ranveer Singh — were wearing their creations.
The brand will soon open its largest store to date in Hyderabad, India. “They’ve got that right dose of edge,” Ms. Shroff said over email. “Outhouse understands this vibe like no other.”
In 2015, they expanded Outhouse and launched jewel-encrusted bags, produced with vegan leather and inspired from dance and whimsical childhood memories.
And last year, as Y2K nostalgia reached a fervor, Outhouse released a gold rush Furbie bag as part of the larger Furbie bag universe. The sisters were inspired by Italian nightlife after traveling through the country, and they wanted to incorporate disco glamour: Handcrafted with over 2000 champagne-tinted rhinestones, the bag’s movement contained an element of rhythm.
“I really knew it’s going to kill it,” Sasha Grewal said. “The Furbie was a great product already — it just needed some more iconism.”