Entrepreneur Anjana Arjun’s sustainable brand uses apple skin and cactus leather to make handbags

Entrepreneur Anjana Arjun’s sustainable brand uses apple skin and cactus leather to make handbags

Anjana Arjun became a fashion designer by accident. She always wanted to be a photographer and with this interest she entered the LaSalle College of Arts in Singapore. But the only course available was in fashion media and industry, and since it had to do with art, she thought she would find her niche.

“The course broadened my view of the industrial and business aspect of fashion. My thesis was about fashion as a company, where I had to make a business pitch with marketing, financial strategies, focus on the product and the packaging and this was the pivot for me. I wanted to broaden my knowledge in this area,” she says Her story.

She applied to the Parsons Institute of New York and graduated in fashion marketing in 2015 and an internship with Porenza Schouler, and worked with Tahari before deciding to return to India in 2019.

Creating awareness about sustainable fashion

From the Sarjaa collection

Chennai, her hometown, didn’t offer her many choices, and this prompted her to brainstorm with her family to start her own business.

“I have always been interested in sustainability and sustainable materials in fashion. As someone who is very close to animals and nature, it is very dear to me. Since fashion is the third most polluting industry in the world, I also wanted to create awareness about sustainable fashion in India,” says Anjana.

Instead of jute and linen, Anjana decided to focus on sustainable materials with which you would associate style and chic. She initially thought about designing clothes, but after researching plant skins and fruit leathers, she decided to start small, and she says handbags were the best.

“I went with my family name, Sarjaa, but with a double A to represent my name. It is also my grandfather’s name and my father’s last name. In addition, Sarja is the name of the tree associated with my heavenly start, the moola nakshatra. The tree is said to give the grower a long and happy life, and that is sustainability for me,” she explains.

Manufactured at its factory in Karnataka, Sarjaa launched last month with six designs in its first collection. They contain:

Pracheen – A classic handbag made of apple leather, with the inner lining of ethically sourced Eri silk, while the printed lining comes from the designs of a renowned henna artist in South India.

Sebu – Sebu, which means apple in Kannada, is made of apple leather. The lining is organic cotton and the zippers are made from 70% post-consumer recycled metal.

Dua – This spacious tote bag is an ideal work bag, with spacious zip pockets and compartments.

Punja – This can be used as a clutch or a cross-body bag and can be paired with both western and Indian clothing. The magnetic closing button is made of recyclable aluminum and the inner lining of the bag is made of organic cotton.

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