AIAYU is one of those brands I’ve been admiring from afar for a while now. Their philosophy of ‘Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication’ resonates deeply with me and their eco-friendly and ethical credentials are
exemplary for the fashion industry.
Back in 2004 Maria and Marie, the two Danish founders, came up with the idea to introduce sustainable knitwear of a superior quality in classic designs rather than fast moving trends. They found a previously unknown llama wool quality in Bolivia which is unique in its softness and less prone to pill due to the long fibres of the llama and became the first brand to introduce this kind of processed llama wool to the fashion industry in 2006. Maria says:
‘Concentrating on exploring one material with one producer has given us a very unique understanding and knowledge of the beautiful potential of the llama wool. It gives us the best of the best, and keeps our concept strong and transparent. Instead of being distracted by the billions of possibilities within fashion, all inspiration and energy is put into making each product unique, beautiful and long lasting.’
To keep the value chain transparent and nimble they have decided to use just one supplier from the manual sorting of the raw fibres to spinning, dying, knitting, packing and shipping – it’s all in-house. Therefore cultural heritage and the tradition of knitting is preserved and job opportunities created with fair contracts and working conditions in the remote highlands of Bolivia.
Their eco-friendly approach is holistic taking every aspect of the production into account including a water treatment plant to clean the waste water as well as biodegradable packaging and recycled paper for all their printed marketing materials.
At the upmarket end of the fashion spectrum it’s little touches that make all the difference and for me it’s in form of two initials beautifully stitched into the garment – a greeting from the knitter to you and a sign how every piece is hand-finished with great love and care. No wonder they’re calling their hand knitted items a ‘piece of art’.
In case you wondered, AIAYU means soul in the native tongue of the indigenous people in Bolivia, and was a name carefully picked by the workers.
A wonderful concept and I’m proud to share some of their AW home and knitwear range with you today.