Arela

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Arela

Finland
info@arelastudio.com
Ilmarinkatu 9 E 35
33500 Tampere
Finland
Arela is a clothing brand focused on cashmere knitwear and cotton basics. Born in 2006 of designer Maija Arela's desire to create contemporary cashmere knitwear, Arela is now run by Maija and her two daughters, Aalto university alumn, head designer Anni Arela and head of communications Viivi Arela.
Company
Who is behind the shop and where the idea came from? 
Arela was born in 2006 when textile designer and colour specialist Maija Arela got excited about modern cashmere knits in Paris. At the time, there wasn't much cashmere available in Finland except for very classic designs, and Maija immediately understood how great material cashmere would be in the Finnish climate and the potential for cashmere knits in minimalist designs and considered colours.

Nowadays Arela is run alongside Maija by her daughters Anni, who's the head designer and Viivi, who takes care of marketing and communications. Our focus has been since the beginning in minimalist, functional design, high-quality natural materials and considered colours.
How many people work for your company? 
We are altogether 5 persons working with Arela today.
What have been the highlights for your company? 
How do you aim to improve the welfare of the environment and human. 
Our whole philosophy is about well-being and better everyday. We aspire to enhance our customers life by making products that are well-made, pleasant to use, can take the test of time and are made with respect to humans and nature.

In addition, our services make our customers life a little bit easier. We provide a care service for our knitwear that keeps them in use and makes them look and feel like new.
Has your company had to give up something to be more sustainable and responsible? 
We are unable to compete with prices in the manner that is nowadays a norm in the clothing business. We only have to seasonal sales per year and we aim to price our products in a transparent manner. We do not push the prices because that would not be fair for the animals and all the labour that goes into making one garment. If we pushed the prices lower, it would mean we would have to lower our quality and we are not willing to do that. Low prices are not sustainable.
What are your visions for the future? 
We aim to build Arela into a lifestyle brand that is known in addition to our high-quality clothes for our services and immaterial products.
What is your motto? 
On vaikea keksiä parempaa mottoa kuin Dieter Ramsin "Less but better".
What inspires you? 
We are inspired by many things that surround us: culture, art, films, books, music. But also travel experiencces, people seen on the street etc. For Anni the starting point of a collection is often a certain feeling in a certain place and time that is hard to define. It's quite abstract, actually.
Products and product creation
Which product best describes you and why? 
Haru robe for example – it is an extremely multitasking, long-lasting and pleasureable to wear. And beautiful it is too. With minor alterations, Haru has been in our collection for years, and some of our customers have reportedly used it for ten years.
How do your products add value for your customers compared to basic market products? 
Quite many things.

All our products have been designed in Finland by ourselves. Most of the products are made in small batches, which makes each and every one of them pretty unique.
How do you aim to produce long lasting products? What this requires for example from the product design? 
Anni designs all our products to stand the test of time both time-wise and style-wise. We only choose materials that can take wear and/or can be repaired and mended and are pleasurable to use. Anni's background in dance can be seen in her designing process – the movement of the body and how the garment feels from the inside on is always crucial to her designs. It is not enough that the garment is long-lasting if it is not comfortable enough and you don't wear it.
What is the best feedback you have received from your products? 
"I live in these"
"Your clothes are the ones I end up wearing every day"
"I don't want to use any other clothes anymore"
"When I opened my package after the care service, I though you had wrapped me a new sweater!"
"I'm so happy I've found you!"
What product do you find superb that was made by someone other than you? 
It's no secret that we at Arela wear Terhi Pölkki shoes – we like their design and they work beautifully with Arela clothes.
What materials you prefer in production? 
We use mosty natural materials. Mostly 100% cashmere wool, but also 100% merino and merino-cashmere blends. In some cotton materials we use there is also a bit of lycra or polyester.
What makes your products environmentally friendly? 
Even though no clothes produced new are 100% environmental friendly, we try to make choices that lessen the impact the production has on the environment, such as:
-cashmere is collected in a way that does not harm animals and it does not require frequent washing. Chemicals are not used needlessly in the production.
-our Arela Sunday collection is made of undyed cashmere, so it is chemical free
-our design process starts from quality and sustainability so, that we only use materials that can take time
-our knits are fully fashioned so that no material is wasted
-we recycle our used knits and upcycle them
-we offer care service for our knits to keep them in use as long as possible
Are you aware of where the part of your products (materials etc.) are made and by whom and in what circumstances? 
Yes, we have direct relations to the producers we work with. We visit the factories regularly.
How do you pack your products? 
Our products are packed in tissue paper and shipped to customers in reusable RePack packages.
What alternatives you prefer for the product delivery? 
Orders can be picked up at our stores in Helsinki and Tampere.
5 tips you could give someone interested in a more sustainable way of life. 
1. Try to see the difference between want and need
2. Take good care of the clothes you own
3. Buy only things you really like
4. Invest in pieces that last time and changes of fashion
5. Prefer products that are washable and mendable