It was founded in 2004 by Danish designers Maria Helmann and Maria Glæsel. They shared a passion for clothing that is not only beautifully designed but also fairly produced. This is why, unlike many other brands, Aiayu is keen on divulging the details of their production process.
All material are 100% natural and are produced in their land of origin. This means that all their knitwear, which is made from pure Bolivian llama wool, is knitted by local Bolivian women. The emphasis is on creating sustainable jobs that reflect existing local practices and the tradition of knitting. The use of artificial colouring agents or other synthetic substances is kept to a minimum.
Moving from wool on to cotton, we are glad to note that the Aiayu’s Indian-grown cotton is 100% ecological. Sustainability is key. Learning about the enormous wastage of the textile industry appalled the three designers and they decided to set up a zero waste program. This means that whatever waste Aiayu produces is simply re-used, for instance to make labels and bags. The proceeds of these items then go to a local Indian school for children with learning deficits.
How lovely to see that such well-intentioned initiatives are fully recognised and rewarded by the fashion world, such as CSR brand of the year by the ELLE Style Awards in Denmark. Clearly, it is possible for fashion to go hand-in-hand with honest and sustainable business practices. The two Danish ladies have tried to tell us as much through their choice of brand name, for in the mother tongue of the local Bolivian people Aiayu means ‘soul’. And all of this in cooperation with soul-sister, a wonderful match indeed.
'Clearly, it is possible for fashion to go hand-in-hand with honest and sustainable business practices.'