Currently, Sarjaa has introduced six styles of bags – Pracheen, Sebu, Dua, Punya, Kala and Kenti – a mix of classic handbags, mini bags, and cross-body bags
How does the idea of processing leather from apples or pineapples sound? As inane as it may seem, the truth is, Indian fashion is evolving at a fast pace and is certainly making room for innovative and sustainable trends like these! Case in point: Sarjaa, a home-grown brand recently unveiled its freshly-minted range of handbags made from apple-skin leather!
Founded by Southern superstar Arjun Sarja’s daughter Anjana Arjun, Sarjaa aims to bring in functional, stylish, luxury handbags, made out of plant-based and fruit leather. Think of ingredients such as apple, cactus, and pineapple, Sarjaa uses them all/
Introducing a line of eco-chic and versatile handbags, the brand aims to expand to other verticals soon. Combining her inclination for these two creative pursuits and the urge to launch her own fashion label, Sarjaa came to fruition after the young designer found a gap in the market for high-quality, premium handbags made with ethically-sourced materials. It’s also part of her philosophy of adopting a long-term sustainable lifestyle. Each plant-based handbag is a work of art, uniquely handcrafted using fruit leathers such as apple skin—a first in India—pineapple and cactus leather, ethically-sourced silks and cotton, recyclable aluminum, and prints designed by local artists, which are used in the inner lining of the bags.
From classic and timeless designs to sophisticated, new-age styles, each handbag tells a story, caters to all ages, and is extremely functional. Speaking of how the concept came about, Arjun explains that after she returned to India post-university, and had worked in the fashion industry in the USA, she often felt the need to come up with her own brand. “I wanted to bridge a certain gap that I saw in the market. When it came to sustainable fashion in India, I could only notice only earthy tones, jute, and lines only; there was nothing on the stylish and luxurious end of sustainable fashion. It was clear to me that I wanted to focus more on design and not compromise. I wanted to try to make the sustainable aspect of my product almost ‘invisible’ as I wanted the designs to take over. I’ve always had an idea of what kind of materials I wanted to use, I wanted to bring a new, fresh, luscious concept to the table. With extensive research, I was able to get my hands on some very innovative, sustainable materials made from fruits and plants and that’s how the plant and fruit-based concept was created,” she explains.
The brand’s name holds unique significance – for one, Sarja is the name of her grandfather and is deeply rooted in their family tree. The brand’s logo, when flipped horizontally, is a sign of infinity, which is tied to her vision for a healthy and green planet for years to come. Sarjaa’s manufacturing facility is currently located in Karnataka, employing locals and using ethically-sourced fruit leathers and recyclable materials.
Speaking of how different is plant-based leather compared to vegan alternatives, she opines how vegan leather mostly uses PVC, Phalates, and other toxic substances that negatively affect the environment. “Plant-based leather does not use any toxic substances. Apple leather is derived from the waste of apples from fruit-juicing industries, which are then mixed with other organic ad non-toxic substances. Similarly, cactus leather is derived from drying cacti leaves, which require very little water to grow, and is mixed with other non-toxic substances. Pineapple leather is derived from pineapple leaf fiber. It is made from a natural waste product, created with low water use and low production waste, containing no harmful chemicals or animal products,” Arjun thinks.
Currently, Sarjaa has introduced six styles of bags – Pracheen, Sebu, Dua, Punya, Kala, and Kenti – a mix of classic handbags, mini bags, and cross-body bags.