Meet the Emirati entrepreneur creating fashion for a good cause

“Change the way you see things, and the things you see will change”
Meet the Emirati entrepreneur creating fashion for a good cause
ARSHYS
ARSHYS

Arshia Alam’s fashion label Arshys is a contemporary womenswear brand with a difference. The company has collaborated with the Dubai Autism Center to develop a collection which will empower individuals with special needs and give back to the community.

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The ‘Spectrum’ collection combines telling the individuals’ stories and Arshys designs. This unique partnership also sees 20% of all collection proceeds going to the charity center. This initiative will help support those living with autism, which is rising every year. “Twenty-five years ago, one in 1,000 people was diagnosed with autism. Today, it is one in 59,” said Mohammed Al Emadi, the Director General of Dubai Autism Center. We caught up with Arshia to find out more about this heart-warming initiative.

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Art is a vital expression took for those with Autism Arshia tells us, “For individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), art can be an ideal means of expression. They tend to think visually, in pictures and use that visual art to communicate what’s going in their world”. “The core of my brand Arshys is also about using fashion as a platform to express a point of view, to send a message of positivity and joining forces with such kids made perfect sense. Often mentally challenged people due to lack of employment & other opportunities  find it difficult to support themselves  and as a result end up living in isolation. I wanted to collaborate so I could support in releasing the trapped artistic potential of people with Autism converting their artwork to unique textiles for a commercial fashion collection that creates impact every time it sells.  This whole collaboration is meant to create awareness and highlight the fact that autism is an ability to express things differently.”

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Arshia used the time of lockdown to think about how to put disadvantaged communities at the heart of her new collection, and began product development by using artwork created by those with Autism. Looking to “push the social boundaries where mission and market are in focus” this collection aims to support the sustainable development goals of the UN by reducing inequalities, supporting decent work and economic growth.

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The ‘Spectrum’ collection takes inspiration from the Wayne Dyer quote “change the way you see things and the things you see will change”, Arshia tells us. “With this collection and initiative I hope to push the social norms and instil positive externalities. I am hoping the industry take note of the fact that by integrating the challenged communities in the value chain of the company we could create innovative sustainable business models that in turn help us create something beautiful that benefit not just the businesses but the societies we live in”.

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Younger generations are caring more about the products we consume and the effects that they have on the environment and society. “Consumer behaviour is shifting towards brands that has a purpose”, Arshia tells us, “I think the fashion industry should make an effort by exploring on ways to represent individuals beyond the mainstream which helps reduce bias around diversity and differences. When we push ourselves to find ways on how to re-design our value chain there are plenty of opportunities to create both social and economical value. We just have to think outside the box”.

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Shop Arshys at arshys.com.