Fashion brand Araks is all about enhancing the female form — not distracting from it. And that means pairing playful complementary colors and attention-grabbing original prints for sustainably made lingerie, swimwear, sleepwear and resortwear that collectively personify the whimsical idea of purchasing “a little something special.”
Araks’ unique aesthetic is its attention to the finer details that surprise and delight: think of indulgent washed silk charmeuse mulberry-hued pajamas or eye-catching bubblegum pink and golden ochre lingerie sets. The brand’s approach to sustainability involves thoughtful product design through the use of eco-friendly materials, such as organic cotton and Econyl; a “culture of mindfulness and economy” centered on reducing, reusing and recycling; careful selection of mill and factory partners, and ongoing donations of unneeded materials to schools and charitable organizations. Araks is working on its new collection made from a 100 percent cotton that blends organic and recycled fibers, set to launch in fall 2020.
Here, Araks Yeramyan, founder of Araks, talks to WWD about her unique design process that all begins with color.
WWD: What drives your obsession with color and detail? How does it influence your overall aesthetic and design process?
Araks Yeramyan: Everything starts with color and selecting color is where I spend the most time in my design process. I start with a color that I have not seen in a long time, and the rest follows. After selecting the main seasonal colors, I’ll work in a neutral or two. Then, at the end I work in one strange color to bring it all together.
Our color library is stored in one gallon glass jars. I begin by going into my jars and pulling out 20 to 30 shades of the colors that I want to work with. Then, I spread all of the swatches onto a large board to start looking at their relationships to one another. From there, I start to edit them down. I will work on the board and then step away, work and step away, a little bit each day. I never know how long it’s going to take to get down to the final selection. I’m only clear when it’s done. Sometimes I can do it in a week, on occasion it has taken up to a month.
WWD: How has your upbringing and constant exposure to art influenced your aesthetic?
A.Y.: My dad always wanted to be an artist, but he became a chemist instead, so he decided to nurture creativity in us. He always took us to museums and taught us about color. He brought me three colored pencils — red, yellow and blue — along with a color wheel and insisted that all colors could be created from these three. We were limited to this assortment of colors until we were old enough to go out and buy our own. This was the beginning of my love and understanding of color.
WWD: How is the concept of wearing “everyday luxuries” intended to impact the consumer, and why are the lingerie and swimwear categories the best way to represent that?
A.Y.: I set out to create lingerie for women to enjoy, something they would love wearing for themselves — pieces that they would feel beautiful, strong and empowered when wearing.
WWD: What personal/travel experiences led to the color story expressed in your current collection? Do the color or design influences for lingerie and swimwear differ?
A.Y.: The color palettes for both collections start at the same time and from the same place. I work back and forth between both simultaneously. Swim is always bright and saturated, lingerie is softer and a bit quieter.
WWD: Would you elaborate on how Araks weaves sustainability throughout its company ethos and collections?
A.Y.: One of the core values of Araks is being thoughtful about the resources we use. With every design and business decision we make, we strive to make the best decision to minimize the environmental impact. Two-thirds of the impact of clothing, comes from the choices we make in design so we choose fabrics and suppliers who aim to reduce water, air and environmental emission, use solar power. We always choose organic or recycled materials where we can, always looking for the better alternative. We also continually evaluate our choices as new technologies and options become commercially available.
We are always looking to perform and function in the best possible manner to optimize and maximize resources. This filters down to the everyday of operations of our studio. Everything from boxes, to bags, to paper (no post-its) is used and reused as much as possible. We support and monitor fair treatment of all of our workers. Throughout the year, we donate a portion of sales to support initiatives across the globe that we believe in, including Planned Parenthood and Sierra Club.
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