Āroka essentially symbolises the crack of light that shines through woven cloth, an identity the Mumbai-based sustainable fashion label has embraced since its inception.
Āroka aims to be the point of intersection between sticking to tradition and making a statement while contributing to a more conscious, environmentally friendly and just world. So, the label primarily uses only ethically-acquired, ecologically conscious handwoven fabrics like Khadi and Tencel and other water-saving, eco-friendly fabrics.
A passion project crafted by Mumbai-based couple Shweta Agarwal and Karan Ahuja, Āroka started off as a typical, traditional Indian wear brand, catering to the ethnic wear needs of the industry. However, the duo quickly realized that not only was the market of Indian wedding wear saturated, buyers often couldn’t appreciate the hard work that went into the hand-embroidery embellishing the clothes.
They could neither understand the importance of fair-trade in fashion, which tries to ensure that every artisan involved in the creation is paid what they deserve, instead of the meager wages they would otherwise earn because of meddlesome middlemen maximising their own profits.
Fusing fashion with fairness
Today, Āroka stands tall and proud as a contemporary wear label that seamlessly fuses fashion with fairness in a way that lets the buyer play around with separate pieces and mix and match them to maximize their usage, making each item reusable and thus truly sustainable. The idea is to reinvent traditional craft in a modern manner, infusing classics with current trends to create fresh pieces that can be recurrently used.
For this label, the process that goes into making the clothes is as important as the finished product which is why the brand tries to collaborate with various artisans across India every month, working to resurrect traditional crafts that are slowly dying out due to the lack of proper wages for artisans and poor working conditions.
Āroka believes in creating clothes with a conscious mind, paying fair wages to the artisans by eliminating the middlemen, reviving heritage crafts and creating a community of like-minded individuals that care not only about what they wear but also for greater causes like protecting the environment and the livelihoods of marginalized communities.
(In partnership with Shuffling Suitcases...)
(The views expressed in the article are the author’s own. Let Me Breathe neither endorses nor is responsible for them.)