From the brink of extinction, Aranya has successfully revived natural dyes in Bangladesh, developing a palette of 30 ecologically friendly, non-pollutant colours through decades of intensive research and development. Flowers, leaves, fruit, sawdust and extracts from the rich depository of dye plants in the country are used in conjunction with four mordants to ensure colour fastness.
Natural dyes, used singly or as compound colours, offer an unlimited range of shades and variations. Production techniques have been refined to maximise cost effectiveness, commercial viability, and colour fastness to compete successfully in the mainstream market both in Bangladesh and abroad. Aranya is a successful fair trade organisation and a member of WFTO; it is also a member of the World Crafts Council.
With its outstanding designs and colours, Aranya has created a brand that is instantly recognisable. Apart from block print it uses a range of Asian craft techniques like tie-dye, folded shading and shibori to extend its repertoire. Hand-dyed yarn in silk, cotton and blends is woven and embroidered in traditional saris, readywear, fabrics and accessories. Aranya’s special achievement has been its revival of traditional Jamdanis and Kanthas sourced from museum and personal collections, national and international.
Aranya’s primary objective has always been to build a strong domestic market and it has operated accordingly over the last two decades. However, its unique colour palette and designs has attracted export orders from prestigious stores like Liberty, The Conran Shop, Selfridges, Chandni Chowk, Habitat and others in the UK as well as specialized retailers in Germany, Italy, France, Japan and Korea.
It has also worked with international designers like Nicole Farhi, Giorgio Armani, Jurgen Lehl, and a host of young designers in the US, Europe and Japan. It is now essential for Aranya to expand its production capacity in order to sustain the domestic and export market, without compromising on quality.
Initially inspired by the work of Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay in India, Aranya’s efforts benefited from the support of Begum Sufia Kamal in Bangladesh. Aranya has trained hundreds of artisans and craft organisations in natural dye techniques in Bangladesh and abroad providing employment opportunities to thousands of crafts people in the country. Today Aranya is acknowledged as one of the foremost experts in this Region.Ruby Ghuznavi, the founder and Executive Chairman of Aranya Crafts Ltd, has revived natural dyes in Bangladesh to promote the ecological, social and economic benefits of the ancient craft tradition. She has handed over Aranya to the Bengal Foundation and continues to work with the organization to revive natural dyes and promote the craft on a larger scale. Aranya will surge forward thanks to the efforts of those who have devoted themselves to revitalizing this part of Bangladesh’s heritage.