While I’m very aware of the sustainability of wood and other hard surface materials, I’ve been unaware and slightly naive about textiles. But I’m getting better. In my effort to learn about the textile industry, which is obviously a huge part for interiors, I’m looking to Scandinavian companies that are making a positive difference with quality, production and sustainability.
Over a year ago I discovered Aiayu, a company that makes timeless designs made to last (my kind of company). They work with sustainable production and a 100% business practice. By that I mean they make sure that everyone involved including the factories and farms for example are paid fairly and the conditions in which they work are safe and sustainable. Their focus materials are organic cotton, cashmere, Llama wool, Yak wool and linen. Other materials are also sustainably sourced but these are a main focus.
The Llama wool is sourced from Bolivia, collected from the Llamas that roam freely in their natural habitat. The wool comes in natural colours of pure white, grey, browns and black. “We are very conscious about minimising the use of dyes or any other chemicals: dark fibres are used for dying dark yarns and light fibres are used for dying light coloured yarns” – says Aiayu.
In Nepal, Aiayu have developed strong business relationships with highly skilled weavers and craftsmen. They produce woven yak wool and cashmere. The cashmere comes from the goats of Inner Mongolia, it is then refined in Nepal. “One goat yields only 200 – 300 grams of pure cashmere a year. Just enough for one medium weight sweater.”
The Yak ox roams freely on the hills of the Himalayas in Nepal. Yak wool treated properly is soft as cashmere, strong and warm as Llama wool. All of the spinning and weaving is done by hand. “For comparison, it takes a a skilled spinner one month to spin two kilos of Yak wool, enough for five shawls.”
As for cotton, I think Aiayu have done something incredibly special and important here. India is known for it’s vast textile industry and production. Aiayu only work with 100% organic cotton, certified according to SA8000 and GOTS. The organic cotton is grown to support healthy eco systems and biodiversity, including reducing the consumption of water.
For their production or organic cotton in India they have set up a zero waste program. Any left over fabric and cuttings from production are collected and reused in rugs, tote bags, make up bags, raw quits etc (this is stated on the product description).
There is also help to eliminate any waste by recycling other fabric waste by other producers. The cotton tote bag you get to bag up your purchases in Aiayu stores are made left over fabric stock of other companies.
“With profits from our zero waste products, we give donations to a local school for challenged children called TEARS, an acronym for Train, Educate And Rehabilitate Socially.”
With sustainability, quality of materials and business responsibility all incredibly high it is understandable to see the price label on these products. They’re not cheap but it’s also not overwhelming.
Another point I like to make when it comes to fashion or household items is the longevity. These are made to last, Aiayu even have a repairs service. The price point is fair.
I hope one day they host a workshop with some of these crafts people, as I think these are skills are priceless. We all need to help reduce the items we discard at home. Why wouldn’t you want to keep these forever?
To see more of the collection visit www.aiayu.com
*images courtesy of Aiayu, not sponsored