“More than the product the process of making the product is important,” says Arshia, co-founder of Rias Jaipur.
With legendary beauty and variety, texture and colours, patterns and embroidery, Indian handloom market has resurrected from death. Something which was earlier a dying art has today become a powerful force in the market. While many are contributing to the revival of this art in their own ways, there are some who need special mention.
Today Startup Story Media will take you on the journey of Rias Jaipur – the brand which is revolutionising the handloom industry with love and responsibility.
Weaving in beauty and duty
Arshia and Avishek are both designers who graduated from NIFT. While Avishek comes from an artisan family in Bengal, Arshia has her roots in Rajasthan. Both of them understand the value of art and after working together for a couple of years, came up with the idea of Rias Jaipur. This idea weaves in the beauty of Indian handlooms and the duty of delivering zero wastage products. With determination and vision originated Rias Jaipur in 2017, currently based on women’s clothing. This is a startup which began with their own savings as they did not have any investor or funding.
A journey towards 100% handmade
Arshia and Avishek both have a good understanding of the art which is reflected in their choice of craft for Rias Jaipur – Dabu/ Bagru & hand block printing onto handwoven fabrics.
The complete process of preparing a garment is carried out by hands. From ginning and weaving to dyeing, printing, and designing – this journey ends in a product which is 100% handmade. Rias only makes a fabric that is completely handspun using only natural dyes and ancient block printing techniques; no machinery is involved in making the product.
The base fabric is made in a village situated on the border of Bangladesh and Bengal. Then they import fabric to Bagru which is 30 km away from Jaipur, Rajasthan.
Rias’s re-volutionary vision:
Mahatma Gandhi once said, “I do regard spinning and weaving as a necessary part of any national system of education.” Although we haven’t reached the point where spinning and weaving gets its own space in India’s system of education, it’s great to know that its importance is getting acknowledged and appreciated again. Rias Jaipur is one of the many who have come forth to work for their own vision of Indian handlooms.
Arshia explains, “Whatever you are making should be re-cyclable and the cycle should be continued.”
The 100% handmade products are sure a bit expensive but they promise quality and comfort while sticking to their values of creating a completely natural and organic product which is eco-friendly as well. Rias is sustainable, both culturally and environmentally. Using 100 years old technique of making and printing fabric, they are successfully preserving the heritage of India; by making zero wastage and eco-friendly products, they are preserving the environment.
They want to be a circular brand with a goal to recycle everything and to run their brand with zero wastage. Aiming this point, they are about to launch a product that is totally made by wastage called “RE” meaning recycle/rewind/restart. Their aim is not just to attract the young generation but to be in the eye of the old generation too.
“Our block printing is very different; we aim women of all ages,” Arshia said.
The exposure and acknowledgement
Handlooms, though starting to get its lustre back, have still a long way to go. Even though startups and media are giving the ancient art attention, the artisans also need to be aware. Many artisans are not aware of market needs or have tools to make their products available to the public. Arshia and Avishek help these artisans create products as per the latest fashion trends in the market; they also arrange workshops and exhibitions from time to time.
“As we see people (artists) are moving from art and craft because they don’t see profit in it. Having the artisan background, we understand the value of art. So, we combined their talent and our ideas together.” says Arshia.
After putting in so much hard work one might think they invest a lot in marketing, which surprisingly, they don’t.
They don’t believe in spending much on the advertisement. They believe in making their product good enough to reach out to the people. They got a great response from the recent collection of Masks without any advertisement. In fact, Rias Jaipur’s story was also published in Vogue India in August 2020.
Recently they launched their shopping website Rias Jaipur. And also, sell their clothing to other shopping websites nationally and internationally (like Only ethical (UAE based), Vaya India (Netherland), A store in Germany, A magazine of japan also showcased Rias’ some clothing.) After getting success in the women’s attires and masks, they are about to launch their home textile collection soon.
Message for young entrepreneurs
Even after coming this far so soon, they don’t have any big plan of competing with famous brands – they are simply happy with their work.
“We don’t want to compete with any other big fashion brand like Zara and H&M,” says Arshia, she added, “Brands like us which are totally based on handmade processes and techniques are not able to produce such a number of products in comparison to machinery.”
When asked by Startup Story Media with what message she would like to leave the young entrepreneurs, Arshia said that one has to be very determined and focused on what they believe in.
“Starting a startup or a business is not an easy job, but with patience, you can achieve the determined goal,” she added.