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Fashionable, naturally

Shivani Patel and Kesha Vasant on their label, Arture, which offers bags made of cork

February 01, 2016 04:13 pm | Updated February 02, 2016 08:18 am IST

While uncorking a bottle of wine, has it ever crossed your mind that the stopper could someday be a fashion accessory? No? But Shivani Patel and Kesha Vasant saw its potential and started their label Arture, creating a line of bags and wallets made of this material.

A portmanteau of art and Nature, Arture was launched in November 2015 as part of a crowd-funding campaign. “Once we got the funding, a total of $11,300, the production started. To begin with, we catered to the orders placed by the 100 backers. We got 250 metres of cork material and produced 100 pieces of each of our 11 styles of products,” says Kesha, who has a Masters degree in marketing from the University of Denver. Wallets, coin purses, clutch bags, totes, sling bags, laptop bags, satchels and iPad sleeves are part of their collection, which is retailed out of MaalGaadi for now.

The bags have a unique texture. The designs are simple and minimalist, and the colours used are the natural shade of cork: maroon, black, blue and brown.

The idea was to use an alternative to leather. “Rexine, synthetic, jute and canvas were the only options, but we weren’t convinced. Synthetic was definitely out, as it’s not environment-friendly,” says Shivani, an alumna of NIFT. One day, while making a notice board for herself, she got the idea of using cork. “The ones available here are granulated, so we import ours from the Mediterranean, where the quality is good. Portugal is the largest supplier of cork oak,” she says. The young designer seems pleased with the wallet that she’s been using for almost two years now. It’s a strong material, they emphasise. “When the rains happened in December, I was in Delhi. My father called, sounding frantic. He was worried our products might get damaged. But I was not worried, as these are waterproof, strong and anti-fungal,” adds Shivani.

As a raw material, the popularity of cork is gradually increasing, with a few European brands too endorsing it. “We want to keep our products eco-friendly and cruelty-free. The thing about cork is they don’t need to cut trees; just a part of it is shaved and that’s what we use. Our lining too is organic cotton,” says Shivani. The duo believes that fashion does not have to come at the price of a life.

For details, log onto arture.in

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