I first came across Aurai before I travelled to New Zealand and I was initially drawn to the name. Aurai are subtle, gentle and difficult to find and they travel across the world through the sea bringing messages to the Gods. Now that I have returned and seen the wonderful country and learnt more about its rich culture, I am more humbled than ever to be able to introduce Natalia, who is the creative force behind this swimwear company which just launched its first collection this summer. Natalia was born in southern Brazil, where she graduated from University and started her career. She moved to Milan, where she pursued a Master’s Degree in Fashion Management at IED and worked in the buying office at La Rinascente. Currently she lives and works in Auckland, New Zealand.
In a world where everything is go go go, why are you attracted to the philosophy of ‘slow fashion’?
My interest in ethical fashion stemmed during my University years from a deep concern about questionable practices within the fashion industry and interest on new approaches in the way we produce and understand fashion. I understand the fascination with famous brands and fast fashion but it’s not a secret anymore the human and environmental cost of our current fashion system.
Besides the environmental concern, the slow fashion movement reinforces that workers should be respected and receive fair wages, designers and brands should be authentic and visionary to influence positively the market, and that customers should be provided with information and encouraged to make better choices when buying.
The way that businesses are conducted has never been more important, and although I won’t save the world making bikinis I feel that I have a responsibility to make it as better as I can. Hopefully I’ll inspire other brands to do the same and people to support small makers.
If you want to learn more about AURAI’s practices click here
In your debut collection, you experimented with fish leather, tell us briefly how the fish leather is made into a swimsuit?
At AURAI we are always searching for new technologies that can help us to develop more sustainable and creative products. I decided to experiment with fish leather after I learned that a local leather company had developed a way to treat fish leather, which is a by-product of the food industry and that often ends up polluting rivers and lakes, disturbing ecosystems and causing consequences beyond known solutions. I thought it could be not only interesting in terms of design and innovation but I also wanted to support their effort in creating such an amazing product.
How do you juggle being a creative and a business woman at the same time?
It’s a learning curve for sure, but nowadays I truly believe that my creativity makes me a better business woman and that my analytical skills help me to design and develop better products. It’s all about balance so I face it everyday as an opportunity to become a more resourceful professional.
My favourite print from the collection is the Koi Fish, what do Koi Fish mean to you?
I’ve always been passionate about Eastern history, culture and aesthetics and I’ve always loved the legend of the Koi Fish, this small but strong creature that swim against currents to the top of the mountain. It represents ambition, courage, perseverance and all the obstacles and successes we encounter in life, so it was a perfect visual symbolism for a first collection 🙂
Any hints on what we can expect in your next collection?
My next collection will be about a ‘journey to the ocean’, the sensation of wonder and delight that comes with touching the sand with our barefeet and feeling the cold salty water on our skin. The prints will tell this story while some pieces will receive beautiful handmade macramê detailing and contrasting ties. My passion for surfing will also be more in evidence in the form of a rash guard and an one-piece suit.
If you are interested in Aurai pieces, now is the time to have a sticky as they’re doing a big sale here.