The initial idea for Aravore was simple enough: WHY NOT BUILD A BRAND IN THE WAY WE IMAGINED BRANDS WILL NEED TO BE BUILT IN THE FUTURE… if we were going to bring a new product into a market already saturated with an enormous array of products, this had to be SPECIAL IN MORE WAYS THAN ONE. We wanted to to try and do things differently by focussing on QUALITY and DESIGN of course, but also by creating products with a history, products that could speak about their own journeys and through these stories, connect artisan makers with consumers who would appreciate their skill.
My sudden interest in childrenswear -fuelled no doubt by the imminent arrival of my first born- made me focus on kidswear and Aravore was launched at the end of 2005: a childrenswear range made entirely out of high quality organic raw materials, which we sourced directly from the producers and made using many couture crafting techniques in our own Atelier.
Initially, we only did knitwear. There is something very tactile and emotional about knitwear. We get attached to our knitwear in a way that we don’t always do with other pieces of clothing. Perhaps this is because there is something slightly raw and basic about knitwear that brings us closer to the origin of clothing, by emphasising textures and the yarns that are used to make it. And therefore it seemed to fit the essence of what we wanted Aravore to be: PRODUCTS WHERE THE HAND OF THE MAKER WAS EVIDENT, so that they would be appreciated for that very reason. Products that reminded people that there were many skilled human hands and lots of time and care invested in creating them.
To this day, all of our products are signed by the artisan -in our own Atelier- who makes them. For us, this was simply a way of ESTABLISHING A HUMAN CONNECTION between the people making the products and the people buying them. We were careful also, to work on the design and quality side of the products first and foremost. We sought LUXURY THAT WENT BEYOND THE LABEL, beyond “bling”, and concentrated instead on CRAFTMANSHIP, DESIGN, QUALITY and crucially PROVENANCE. From a tiny team consisting of myself, my sister Norah and one knitter, Aravore has grown to a slightly larger team here in London, a team of around 10 people in our main Atelier based in Paraguay and some 25 ladies in satellite Ateliers that we have also helped set up. Aravore is now available in 20 different countries outside the UK. But we are still very small and we are still being experimental and trying to stick to our initial purpose, our “reason to be”.
I still see Aravore very much as an ongoing project and an experiment in attempting to create something from scratch, attempting to forge our own way of doing so. I would lie if I say that it has all been smooth sailing. But then I look back and see what we have created and as I see my own children, and the children of all of the women that are part of Aravore, growing up with mums that feel proud of their work, mums that are able to not only feed, clothe & educate their kids with the fruits of their work, but that are also able to inspire them & fill them with ambition. And that makes me happy. But more importantly, it makes me feel honoured to have had a chance in being part of it.
Yanina Aubrey, Co-Founder & Creative Director