Wie manche von Euch ja schon wissen bin ich ein riesiger Fan von dem Londoner Label Aravore babies. Und ich konnte die Macher des Labels dazu gewinnen mir ein paar Fragen zu beantworten. Ich bin so frei das Ganze nicht auf deutsch zu übersetzen. Ich hoffe Ihr verzeiht mir!
Und nun viel Spass mit dem Interview !
Aravore is a London based childrenswear label. Who are the persons behind Aravore?
Aravore was started by sisters Yanina and Norah. Yanina is the Director & designer of the label and overseas the team in London. Norah manages the workshops in Paraguay where the organic cotton is produced and the clothes are made.
How was the idea born to create a childrenswear label? And why did it have to be organic and fairly traded?
Inspired by the birth of her first child Thea, Yanina wanted to design a childrenswear business that would fill a gap in the market – something aspirational and exciting that would offer the UK customer something new and special. Being ethically aware and inspired by the natural beauty of her childhood spent in Paraguay, an organic and fairly traded childrenwear label seemed the most natural choice. Both Yanina and Norah felt that there was no other way to set up a business in the 21st Century, it had to be guided and inspired by the principles of environmental and social sustainability.
Aravore became 5 years old this year. What changed the most compared to the beginning?
In 5 years we have grown from beeing no more than an idea to a fully-fledged business that employs around 45 people in London and Paraguay. It has beed an busy few years for Aravore! Our wholesale business has grown rapidly and we´re now stocked in ten countries with over 100 stockists. We opened a retail shop in Londonßs Crouch End in 2008 and have seen our customer base grow significantly since. Other noteable developments include a new e-commerce site, a blog, continuous media coverage in some of the world´s best parenting & fashion magazines and three seasonals collections – AW, SS and our range of soft baby basics. We´ve also attended lots of new trade shows including Pitti Bimbo in Italy and Playtime Paris, helping us to grow the business internationally.
What haven´t changed are the energy, enthusiasm and principles that have driven the business from the beginning. If anything, our beliefs in the importanceof sustainability in businesses and in life general, are now stronger than before.
The Aravore styles are classic in a way, but have a very modern vintage look. The remind me of past times and they all have a very special nostalgic touch. Where do the designers get their inspiration from?
Our design ethos is to create classic styles that are modern, wearable and reflect the innocence of childhood. We are inspired by many different things: retro design, vintage fabrics that we source all over the world, handcrafted skills, natural materials, our own children! Many important principles in everything that we design are inspired by Japanese aesthetic ideal such as wabi-sabi and particularly yugen that propose subtle and unpretentious beauty. But overall, we want to create effortless beautiful pieces with heirloom feel, where the hand & skill of the maker is evident, so that human connections can be made between the wearer and the maker.
Do Yanina and Norah, the founders of Aravore have children of their own? And do they wear any Aravore styles?
There are lots of children in the Aravore family! Yanina´s Kids, Thea, 6 & Ethan, 3 and Norah´s daughter Alysa, 2, of course, but also many other children (over 25!) that are the children of the women that work for Aravore in London and Paraguay. All of them have worn and wear Aravore regularly and many of them have acted as models for our lookbooks. They all have strong opinions about the colours and designs that they prefer each season and these opinions are taken very seriously by our design department!
What is the most significant difference to other childrenswear brands?
We were the first label in the UK (and one of the first worldwide) to produce design -led organic childrenwear. Most organic ranges until then had proposed very basic styles. We believe clothes can be beautiful and ethical whilst offering the customer a garment that will last for years as opposed to just one season. We pride ourselves on producing clothes that are fully traceable and benefit everyone involved – from the organic cotton farmers and seamstresses that make our clothes to the children who wear them.
The collection is produced in Paraguay where the sewers get paid fair wages. Why did it have to be in Paraguay? Do the workers there have special skills in e.g. crocheting?
Yanina and Norah grew up in Paraguay and other countries in the region and Norah still resides in Asuncion where the main Aravore workshop is based. Both were inspired by the natural beauty of the region where some of the best yarns and fabrics are produced as well as its rich textile making tradition. Crochet in particular is a very well known & popular craft skill in Paraguay. Nevertheless, paralel to setting up the business, we have set up a training workshop to bring these craft skills up to the highest professional standard. We offer regular (free) training which is open to the community & we have in fact been recognised with a social Corporate Responsibility award in 2009 for our work in this area (Premio ADEEC 2009).
We are currently working in a project that involves a local university and a local spinner & textile manufacturer, to continue to enhance these skills, and we hope to be able to help bring the organic cotton industry in Paraguay to a whole new level.
The Aravore babies styles are sold all across Europe. Which country loves your styles the most?
It´s hard to say! 2009 was a record year for sales in Italy whilst last year (2010) we saw positive growth in the UK, Germany, France and Iceland!! We love seeing our brand in new shops and have been lucky enough to visit many of our stockists in person.
Do you think the awareness for sutsainable clothing will grow in future?
We truly hope so. If people become more aware of the benefits of buying sustainable clothing, the demand should gradually increase. Fast fashion is a false economy and even during hard times, it pays to invest in sustainable clothing. It lasts longer, it´s better made, looks nicer and benefits everyone along the production line without impacting on our planet´s precious recources. But most importantly, socially sustainable clothing should value the work&skill of the very specialised people that make them.
Where will Aravore be in 2 years time?
We are working on continuing to build our wholesale business and hope to see Aravore in lots of new countries and regions. We have plans to expand the range and cover more areas such as bedding. Innovative fashion design is continuously appealing to us and we enjoy the challenge of creating something new each season that tells a story or sets a mood. In short, we will continue to focus on great design, high quality sustainable materials, respect for the makers, in an attempt to offer something different and unique for our customers.