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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

In terms of going green and organic, it’s not just food that’s on the menu; people are looking for other organic products as well. Anindra Siqueira speaks to Ami Sata of Amouve, a brand that’s here to change your sleep experience

An increasing number of people are turning to organic brands andproducts, because they’re not only good for the environment, but also for us. However, what puts most people off about organic products is their relatively high prices. One way to remedy that is to go directly from the farmer to the consumer. One such brand that does this is Amouve, a certified organic bedding brand.

Founder Ami Sata tells us, “Amouve is a concoction of two French words, ‘amour’ meaning Love and ‘reve’ meaning dream. Hence it stands for ‘the love of dreams’. That’s what we wish to do — manifest dreams for consumers in the form of soft, natural sleep, for farmers by giving them a respectable and debt-free livelihood, and for the environment through sustainable practices.”

We caught up with Ami to find out more about the organic brand. Here are excerpts from the conversation.

Tell us a little about Amouve the brand. What is the upside of using products made from organically grown cotton?
Amouve is the first-of-its-kind, direct-to-consumer, GOTS-certified organic bedding brand in India. The idea is to provide a luxurious and honest sleep experience at an affordable price.

The benefits of organic cotton are immense. When you choose bedding made from organic cotton, you eliminate a multitude of chemicals, so you are not exposed to pesticides, herbicides, formaldehyde and a number of other chemical residues commonly found in conventional cotton. Many of these chemicals are carcinogenic and skin irritants. VOCs, or volatile organic compounds, found in conventional cotton are inhaled as vapours during sleep and interrupt our sleep pattern. Pesticides are also potential endocrine disruptors that cause adverse developmental and reproductive problems.

On the other hand, organic cotton is free of toxins, from farm to fabric. More importantly, it feels extremely soft. Consumers should look out for GOTS labelling — or the Global Organic Textile Standard — the most rigorous standard for organic textiles.

From the perspective of the environment, organic cotton is a saviour as it doesn’t deteriorate the soil, river basins, biodiversity or the health of farmers and workers.

What was the inspiration behind Amouve? What sparked it all?
When I visited Sweden, I experienced the most sumptuous sheets I had slept on. While trying to find the same quality in big box retailers in India, I was left disappointed.  Firstly, there was no existence of organic sheets at the retail level. All conventional cotton sheets were marked with inflated thread counts and felt like sandpaper. To add to this, products labelled 100% cotton on the packaging did nothing to talk about the fibre quality or the chemicals that went into it.

Upon doing some research, I realised that conventional cotton is full of pesticides and other potential carcinogens such as formaldehyde. Digging further, I was shocked to find out that the average life of the cotton farmer was 35 years, on account of use of pesticides and purchase of GMO-patented seeds. Cotton has long failed our farmers with more than 3 lakh farmer suicides since 1995. This further cemented my belief that organic (free of any toxins from farm to fabric) was the way forward. It was brought to life with a range of bed sheets, quilts and comforters that were a combination of Scandinavian minimalism and hand-block prints inspired by travel, from Morocco to Colorado, Iran to India, among others. Thus Amouve, an amalgamation of super-soft sheets and a discerning design aesthetic, came into existence.

Tell us a little about the standards and processes that go into the finished Amouve product.
Amouve is certified by the GOTS, under which there is a quality and social assurance that the product is genuinely organic. It means:

  • The use of non-GMO seeds
  • Pesticide-free farms for at least three years before the organic crop is planted
  • The use of natural insecticides made from neem
  • The use of low-impact dyes without heavy metals
  • Social criteria in place that ensures safe, healthy, non-abusive, non-discriminatory environment with living wages for farmers

What do potential buyers have to look forward to with Amouve?
In short, super-soft, honest, toxin-free sleep and luxury with a conscience. Amouve’s sheets use only single-ply yarn threads that last longer and feel smoother than the multi-ply threads available in the market today. Also, they are anti-pill and get softer with each wash because they are made from unbleached organic cotton.

Some of your designs are bright and boast eye-catching patterns and prints. Tell us a little about the prints and the inspiration behind them.
Amouve’s range of products includes bed sets as well as comforters, quilts and linen cushion covers.

Bed sets comprise of the Everyday Luxury Collection with classy minimal sheets in different colours, whereas the Lyric Collection comprises of hand-block prints inspired by travel.

For example, Morocco’s eclectic vibe reflects in the Moroccan Musings Collection, while Angkor draws from the stone ruins in Cambodia. And, while the magnificence of the red mountains of Colorado finds itself in the ‘Colourado’ Collection, the beauty of the Mughal gardens in Kashmir is embedded in the Haminast range.

A lot of these are from my own travel experiences. The personality and character of places blow me away and intrigue me to the point that I find it necessary to reflect them through design. Each of them is a labour of love and takes several days to come to life. Our quilts, for example, undergo seven different processes and take an average of 45 hours to craft. Moreover, I deeply believe that dying Indian art forms require a bigger audience within our country. Apart from the collection, our block-printing workshops are an endeavour in that regard.

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