Arras – Sustainable Fashion Clothing brand, Handmade all the Way!
Arras is a sustainable clothing brand focusing on creating circular products for the fashion industry. It is rooted in the unique textile strengths of the North East Region of India while staying true to its commitment to preserving the environment. Arras designs include handcrafted womenswear made with handwoven peace silk and cotton blends to create pieces of clothing that are versatile and contemporary.
In 2018, the Founder, Unmana Rynjah, gave up her corporate job in New Delhi and moved back to her hometown Guwahati. A first-generation entrepreneur,without any formal education in fashion, her North Eastern heritage allowed her to understand the textile and handicraft strengths of the region. Her determination to positively impact the environment and people’s quality of life motivated her to leap with Arras in 2019.
Arras works towards similar goals of collaborating with a latent population of weavers to shine a light on the weaving skills in NER as well as working towards a sustainable future by ensuring that the clothing that created is kind to the people who make them, the people who wear them and to the environment.
With eight states clubbed together as a whole, NER is a geographically diverse region with over 220 ethnic groups, each with unique customs and traditional designs that remain under-represented even at the domestic level. Currently, the brand collaborates with women artisans in two villages in Assam. The women are generational weavers and are the primary income earners for their families. The principal material in their creations is Peace/Ahimsa silk (Eri silk in Assamese) that is procured from small suppliers and handwoven by women artisans.
Peace silk is the only type of silk, indigenously found in the NER, extracted from the cocoons without killing the silkworm. The yarn is spun by hand, which gives it a linen-like texture having a slight sheen. Peace silk also absorbs natural dyes beautifully, making the pure silk sarees a 100% sustainable and timeless clothing option from Arras. With their recent launch of coordinated western wear sets made from handwoven fabric, the brand moved towards a path of making sustainable fashion fun. The pieces in the capsule collection are designed keeping in mind the balance between trendy and timeless. Making sustainable clothing brands wearable and affordable for the consumer is another essential aspect they consider when creating a new collection.
Arras has found that the fashion industry is not just about clothes or how we look in them. It has far-reaching effects across multiple sectors, and various stakeholders have to work in tandem towards bringing in radical changes. When fashion is sustainable, it creates benefits for everyone along each step of the value chain- for the massive population of workers involved in textile production, indigenous groups, and the end consumer, all the while keeping our environment at the forefront.
“Sustainable fashion is important not just because the fabrics are made from eco-friendly fabrics but also because it also considers the well-being of the workers involved in the production process along with practices that support the conservation of the environment,” says Unmana.
Arras is just at the beginning of the journey, and as a collective, they aim to work towards the goal of a green economy and an inclusive society. As an individual, Unmana believes that fashion is also how we can represent ourselves and use our values to effect change. Our one choice of clothing affects demand for the product and thereby lives of those who produce it and our environment that we actively need to preserve.