AK Threads: Young Fashion Enterprise Modernising Marginalised Indian Communities in Rajasthan

With the subtle symbiosis of functionality and playfulness in mind, the young fashion enterprise, in essence, communicates consciousness and the intention behind it. 

By Hanna-Amanda Pant

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Savant's Weekend Yoga Crush: CorkYogis

As Lara Sengupta was searching for a better way to be connected to the ancient Indian knowledge, she came up with CorkYogis. To add depth to her own passion for yoga, the company that specialises in sustainable cork yoga mats and bags hand-made out of recycled sarees, also helps human trafficking survivors rebuild their lives. 

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A by B · COME Treasury Rugs: Stories of Artisanal Subtlety

B·COME is an ethical fashion studio and sustainable supplier agency located in Barcelona. We believe that sustainable fashion and green design is the future. We build strong professional relationships between suppliers, artisans, and brands. Our aim is to endeavor for ALL us to be the protagonist of the change.  Our main job implies to discover. Discovering and travelling is, without a doubt, what we truly love.

Alba Garcia and Anna Cañadell, B·COME Studio

How did you discover Treasury rugs? Describe your journey to India and discovering the rugs.

India is almost like our second home. Every two months we land into this wonderful destination filled with culture, colours and emotional sensations. Chance and luck often accompany us on our trips. During one of our trips, precisely, was where we found these treasures in the form of rugs. We were exploring the enchanting corners of Jaipur and we spontaneously decided to visit one of our supplier whom we had encountered at a fair in Delhi. Our first sensation when we saw the rugs was an instant crush, we felt "in love”. The harmony between the colour the detailed technique of each rug caught our attention. It was then when B ·COME´s first more personal project “A by B ·COME” was born.

What makes them unique?

The rugs are authentic and unique, as they are made by hand by passionate and loving artisans. Each rug has its own story and uniqueness to it. The subtlety of colors and the energy of the piece, reciting the country it comes from, is just fascinating. They aren't simply objects of home decor, but treasures from India that you could keep forever and, only by looking at them, instantly feel the energy of the country.

"They aren't simply objects of home decor, but treasures from India that you could keep forever and, only by looking at them, instantly feel the energy of the country."

What are the main techniques used and what puts an artisanal quality stamp on it?

"A by B· COME " rugs are made by a traditional Indian technique known as block print. It is the earliest and slowest process of textile printing due to its detailed designs, which are often impossible to recreate with other printing methods. Yet, it remains one of the most vivid techniques in India today.

Originally from Rajasthan, India, the method consists of creating their own carved wood designs that are later covered with colour and printed onto fabrics and paper by hand. The result is an imperfect art endowed with intention, emotion, and virtue. Each piece of block-printed fabric reflects the rich history of an ancient tradition, as well as the unique style of the artisans who made it.


"Each piece of block-printed fabric reflects the rich history of an ancient tradition, as well as the unique style of the artisans who made it."

Why is the heritage of traditional skills, like block print, important? Why we should help to preserve and cherish these skills and traditions deriving from India?

For B ·COME, quality and design are as important as the way things are made. Our main objective is to strive and empower all to become protagonists of change. We admire the work of artisans all around the world.

Even though technology has opened a wide door to opportunities to create new solutions and facilitate the production process, we are captivated by the life and work of artisans. Their imperfect artisanal products that have a whole story behind surprise ourselves every time we travel. We are excited to get to know about unique textile techniques, especially when those techniques have a whole history behind, such as block print.

When you see HOW and WHY in the first person, you understand and respect craftsmanship as an art. You create a close relationship with the people who have made it, and when they so passionately explain how things are done, you cannot help yourself to fall in love.

What are the main themes and stories running through the artisanal, handcrafted rug line?

For us, the thread is driver of colour, the sensitivity in the use of it. There are styles for all, but all of the rugs breathe serenity, subtlety, and stillness.

Our short story of “A by B ·COME “. From the small corners of India, our treasury rugs learn to fly through the deep blue sea. Lola, their flying lecturer is a world-traveller seeking to find beauty in artisanal objects around the planet. The treasury rugs love her, they want to embrace her and never leave her. Nevertheless, they know they have to undertake a trip in order to accomplish their mission. Along their journey, the rugs were amazed by the wonders of the universe, they observed unknown destinations and fulfilled themselves with experiences.

Behind each rug is a hidden story full of extraordinary moments. From the way they were brought to life, to their flying experience, as of course they had to rest in order to recover and arrive to their destination. They are seeking to find themselves a place where they can feel as home and offer their love as they did with Lola. But from time to time, you must let her fly!

"Our main objective is to strive and empower all to become protagonists of change."

What spaces could benefit from having a Treasury rug? What are their place and meaning in the interior the way you imagine it?

We believe that the space is determined by the personality and taste of each individual. Each rug will attract a different person according to its character and taste. We believe that having a Treasury rug could benefit spaces where they go beyond being perceived as interior objects, but as pieces that can bring back memories, tradition and history.

We imagine the rugs in spaces with delicate lights, neutral or with color, kitchens, bathrooms, rooms, small and big, living rooms. We have different sizes for the rugs to adjust to everyone. The smallest one of 0,90 X 0,60m is a perfect measure to give a touch of color and personality to a room or a closet.

We also have a big size of 1,20 X 1,50m where we imagine wide spaces which help to create amplitude and contrasts. Finally, we have the large rugs of  3,00 x 2,00 meters that we imagine in large outer spaces and terraces.

We adore contrasts. Treasury rugs create story according to current events and serve as a product with ethical values that goes beyond pure aesthetics.

"We believe that having a treasury rug could benefit spaces where they go beyond being perceived as interior objects, but as pieces that can bring back memories, tradition and history."

How do these rugs stand in line with B·Come's hard work so far advocating sustainability principles and transparency?

A by B·COME is completely aligned with B·COME´s philosophy. Since the moment we saw them, we understood and lived the art of block print in first person, namely, the conditions of the workers and the products used to make this art happen. The Treasury rugs are made with a noble cotton base, the color dye used is toxic free, and the technique is performed only in solar time, in fact, this technique is conditioned by atmospheric conditions.

Tell us a good reason, what makes an artisanal rug worth having in the first place?

As mentioned previously, block print is more than a technique, it's an art. We believe that having Treasury rugs for our project A by B ·COME is more than having an interior design object, but a story to complement your house, studio, your life.

Our mission is to transmit the essence of the country through treasures from India. In this case, the rugs become a piece of art or a memory, in which you know that every time you would look at it will remind you of the beautiful and fruitful county India is. We have selected different designs and patterns to allow people to choose according to their taste, personality and energy.

How can we get hold of one of your selected rugs?

For the moment, we are still looking and studying the best method to allow every person in the world to have access to our treasury rugs. For now, the orders can be directly done via mail to info@bcomestudio.com at B·COME.

We are in the process of selecting unique concept stores, who have a similar philosophy as B·COME.

We would love to mention Rita Puig Serra, a young and aspiring photographer based in Barcelona. As without her,  her eye and camera we could not bring the essence and image of A by B·COME to live.

Visit their website and make sure to follow them on Instagram.

Read more here. 


SkinYoga: 100% Natural Empowering Beauty from India

Drawing from ancient knowledge of purifying the body, mind, and soul, there’s a new 100% natural way of adapting to ancient rituals. Luxury skincare made user-friendly - and all you need to do is just add water! Indian award-winning skincare brand SkinYoga focuses on empowering women by educating them about the worth of natural beauty and traditions. Founded by a sister-trio, this beauty brand stems from a unifying love of nature and heritage. Radhika Choudhary, one of the co-founders of SkinYoga, spoke to us about their skincare range and its sustainable future. 

Words: Johanna Raudsepp

SkinYoga Post-Workout Neem Purifier.

SkinYoga Post-Workout Neem Purifier.

What inspired you to create SkinYoga?

We grew up in a farm in India, where we used to grow our own vegetables, nurtured cows for dairy, and lived a very organic lifestyle. Then we moved to different parts of the world to study. We always got complimented for our skin and hair and at that made us realize it was the very simple and pure regime we had been following since our childhood. After seeing misleading claims from beauty brands that you only need 3% natural ingredients to call yourself a natural skincare brand, we were determined to develop and formulate a 100% natural and clean luxury skincare line that showed results in just one use. The idea was to create a product for the modern working women, so they could enjoy the best of ancient science and modern technology, yet without having to spend hours on different steps. 

How does SkinYoga follow principles of sustainable beauty?

We are 100% natural skincare brand and all our ingredients are plant-derived, pure, and unprocessed. Few brands in the world can say they are 100% natural.

There are many dimensions to being sustainable. We have kept all our products in a powdered state to keep them highly active and potent. When you’re ready to use it, you only need to add water to activate it. The stabilizing method helps us keep the ingredients highly active without any preservatives. We focus on the smallest details, from packaging to internal operations, making sure they follow an eco-friendly process. Our team is very actively involved in the community and participates in socially responsible programs. We frequently conduct educational seminars and exhibitions highlighting the importance of sustainable beauty.

"We have concluded that a beauty regime doesn’t necessarily have to be complicated and involve 20 different beauty steps."

SkinYoga Corporate Gift Set.

SkinYoga Corporate Gift Set.

Who is your beauty inspiration?

Hundreds and thousands of strong independent working women across the globe, who have and are living balanced and healthy life with lots of style, not because they have to, but because they choose to do so. They are incredibly inspiring, and thanks to our profession, we are blessed to be working with many of such women today, our mother being one of them. We would also like to add that 100% of our workforce are women today.

What is your go-to beauty routine like?

It’s quite simple: cleansing, moisturizing and good sun block in addition to at least 6 hours sleep and loads and loads of water. We at SkinYoga are always looking to further simplify beauty routines. We have concluded that a beauty regime doesn’t necessarily have to be complicated and involve 20 different beauty steps.

"Our philosophy is “If you can’t eat it, don’t put it on your body”." 

SkinYoga Oats and Roses Face Wash.

SkinYoga Oats and Roses Face Wash.

What inspires you when creating new SkinYoga products?

One miracle bottle. That’s our brief behind every product. If you look at our current range we have an ideal capsule skincare range, adaptable to every age and all climate conditions. Coming back to the idea that you don’t need 10 products to take care of your skin.

Quality has become a signature to our brand. Our team works extremely hard to create products,which are clean and effective. Our philosophy is “If you can’t eat it, don’t put it on your body”. 60% of what you put on your body is directly absorbed into your blood stream. Hence, it’s important to stay away from chemicals. 

How do you see the future of natural, sustainable beauty? Where is it directed? 

The future of the beauty industry is heading towards natural and sustainable brands. With the growing consumers’ awareness and demand, the natural skincare category is one of the fastest growing in skincare globally. But there is a huge gap in the market still and more brands are coming to that realization. 

Global demand for natural skincare products is expected to reach $13.2 billion by 2018. Thus, we will see more mainstream brands come up with natural skincare ranges in the future.

SkinYoga Green Tea Face Mask.

SkinYoga Green Tea Face Mask.

What are your hopes and dreams for 2017?

Our dream and mission is to get every vanity bag chemical free. We love to empower women. We want every woman to feel confident and strong in their own skin without having to apply any makeup.

2017 is an important year for SkinYoga - we are coming out with 3 new products, including our first hair care product.

Want to shop or find out more? http://www.skinyoga.in/
UK readers can buy the products here: https://www.skinyoga.co.uk/

Skinyoga Sandalwood Saffron Face Mask.

Skinyoga Sandalwood Saffron Face Mask.


Beej x Raag Workshop: Homage To India's Traditional Textile Skills Heritage

As a brand that proudly celebrates the heritage of Raag workshop with its tradition dating back to 1975, Beej draws upon a modern, moveable take on India's traditional textile skills. Whilst placing the highest importance on sourcing locally from different parts of the country, the uniqueness of Beej lies in making their clothes entirely in-house. The nature of Raag's repertoire of garments enhance a subtle self-confidence and ease of movement. We say 'yes' to wearing traditional feminine enigma paired with flawless fluency. 

Ikat Overlay Coat by Beej, 2016. 

Ikat Overlay Coat by Beej, 2016. 


Beej started with the idea of bringing Raag, started by Asha Sarabhai in 1975 and available in other parts of the world but not yet at home, to India. We are keen to complement the Raag line of clothes with other objects that share its ethos and so created Beej as an umbrella brand under which these products can be sold. We want to celebrate India’s rich heritage, stand for uncompromising quality and a delightful customer experience, and adhere to the highest ethical standards. The Beej and Raag logos, created by Ivan Chermayeff, emphasise the relationship between the two and the fact that we think of ourselves very much as a contemporary brand.

What are the sustainable solutions you have incorporated into the making of your garments?

All Raag clothes are made entirely with handloom fabrics, the production of which keeps alive rich traditions, provides employment opportunities to artisans and is far less resource intensive than mill made fabrics. The environmental impact of our production processes is negligible as our clothes are made by hand.

Our clothes are designed to be durable and make allowances for the wearer to gain or lose a few pounds. Construction techniques and finishing details such as the elimination of seams when possible, addition of gussets for ease of movement and the avoidance of zippers ensure that our clothes last well and give pleasure over the years. We further facilitate their use over time by offering free alterations and repairs for life. Customers who would like to recycle or repurpose an old garment, by making a stole out of a beloved old coat for example, are encouraged to send them to us.

"Overproduction, rampant consumerism and wastefulness, especially in the case of fast fashion, further compounds the adverse global impact that the fashion industry can have."

Where do you see the importance of ethical fashion stand today? Why are we only now starting to open our eyes to the downside of the fashion industry?

The way clothes are produced can often be extremely destructive to the environment and exploitative of the people who make them. Overproduction, rampant consumerism and wastefulness, especially in the case of fast fashion, further compounds the adverse global impact that the fashion industry can have.

An increased awareness about these issues has made people more conscious of the choices they make. The building collapse at a garment factory in Bangladesh, which tragically killed over a thousand workers in 2013, was a watershed moment and resulted in global outrage. It brought to the fore concerns that had been harbored for a long time and which could no longer be ignored.

In light of these realities, and given the huge increase in the number of brands that have launched in the Indian fashion industry in the recent past, an ethical and humane approach to fashion is especially relevant.

Wrap Top by Beej, 2016. 

Wrap Top by Beej, 2016. 

What were the main social concerns that led you to inventing a sustainable brand? 

We started out with the goal of making simple, durable, quality products, in an ethical manner, that we hope would bring pleasure to their users. We were keen to dispel the notion that good business practices make bad business sense by running a humane and efficient setup.

In the Indian fashion industry, it is common practice for many aspects of production to be outsourced. In such a situation, especially so in a developing country, it is very hard to ensure that the people making your products are working in a wholesome environment and are being treated fairly. We were adamant about wanting to make all our products entirely in-house. It enables us to guarantee that those involved in the making of our clothes get a fair wage and work healthy hours in an environment in which they are treated with dignity and respect. Having direct control over all production processes also enables us to maintain high quality standards. Very few companies, and none amongst our peers that we are aware of, make their own products entirely in-house.

"We were keen to dispel the notion that good business practices make bad business sense by running a humane and efficient setup."

What does the pairing India x Sustainable Fashion tell us today and possibly in the future? Where does its heritage stretch back in time? 

We’ve always thought of tradition as a continuous strand, incorporated in the contemporary – that’s what keeps it alive. India has a long tradition of minimizing waste. Recycling has always been an imaginative and inventive art and is very prevalent. Old saris, for example, are turned into quilts when they can no longer be worn. The sari itself, being an unstitched garment, essentially a piece of cloth that is given its dimensionality by the wearer, is an inspired heritage. It can be worn in many different ways, limited only by the imagination of the wearer, and places emphasis on her instead of on a brand. We feel fortunate to be part of this heritage.

Your pieces look modern and comfortable, and not traditional at all! Who is the customer Beej is aimed at? 

We hope Beej would appeal to those who have an understanding of detail and the feel of what they wear. Our audience is discerning women (age 25 and above) with a simple, understated aesthetic and a personal sense of style that isn’t dictated by trends. We envision our customers to have a wide range of interests, be global in outlook and have an appreciation and affection for India’s rich cultural heritage.

"The sari itself, being an unstitched garment, essentially a piece of cloth that is given its dimensionality by the wearer, is an inspired heritage."

What's the best opportunity that creating Beej has led you to? What has been the surprise element?

Appliqué cardigan by Beej, 2016. 

Appliqué cardigan by Beej, 2016. 

It has been a tremendous privilege for us to get to work with Asha Sarabhai and to get the opportunity to bring Raag to customers in India. Being a small, and young, company we can be nimble and we want to make the most of this by transforming ourselves with each collection. Our first collection takes inspiration from the Russian artist Kazimir Malevich to reinterpret Raag classics and we have exciting plans for future collections. Each collection, while rooted in the values, sensibilities, and the design language of Raag, will hopefully seem fresh and vital. Exploring a different theme for each collection has been great fun and an intellectually and creatively stimulating experience.