INDIAN CRAFT TRADITION MEETS MODERN DESIGN
The opulence of Indian craftsmanship translated into a modern, minimalist style: this is what Ray The Collection stands for. The aim of the label is to be as transparent as possible during production - and to do something good at the same time.
Sometimes it takes a while until an idea is so mature that you want to put it into practice. This is how it went for Mareike Fernandes: For years, the designer worked for large corporations - including Triumph and C&A. But inside she had the dream of creating something of her own. The birth of her first daughter was the key trigger for realising this dream: "I asked myself, what role model would I like to be? How do I nourish myself? How do I consume? What do I do that is good?
Mareike Fernandes, founder and designer of Ray The Collection.
In 2018 Fernandes travelled together with one-year-old Uma Ray and her husband for two months to his homeland India. There she visited the NGO Saheli Women, a non-profit fashion producer who helps the female workers in the village of Bhikamkor with fair wages to build a secure livelihood. Inspired by her experiences in India, Mareike knew she was ready to try her hand with her own label.
Modern cuts with an Indian look
Ray The Collection has been online since spring 2019. In addition to traditional embroidered blouses and kimonos with Indian patterns, the range also includes hand-woven scarves. Despite the many ethnic influences, the pieces are wonderfully modern and are the perfect highlights for any western wardrobe. The family business bears the second name of the daughter Uma Ray. "I found this very fitting, because we want to send out a small ray of hope with our collection and transparently present all production and manufacturing processes," says Fernandes.
Mareike Fernanders (middle) with her production team in India.
The embroidered blouses available on the wearness are made of Lenzing Tencel. The fibers come from the renewable raw material wood, which is created by the natural process of photosynthesis. The sewing and embroidering of the blouse takes place - partly by hand - in a small factory in Bombay. For the printed kimonos, Ray The Collection works together with the Saheli Women (www.saheliwomen.com). They are made of a combination of Ahimsa silk and cotton. Ahimsa silk is an animal-friendly alternative to traditional silk, using the cocoons of silkworms that have already developed into butterflies and hatched. In the traditional block printing process, the kimonos are then finished by hand with prints in Bagru, India.
The companies the label has chosen as a manufacturing partner pay their employees significantly more than the minimum wage. "We also support a non-profit organisation in my husband's home town, Pune in India. This mainly supports women and children," explains Mareike Fernandes. For this purpose, the label repeatedly designs a special charity article. "At the moment it's a T-shirt. For every sold shirt, we donate five euros to the organisation."