[Alumni Story] Elisa ARAMU, founder of the clothing brand ‘Aramù’ : “Made with Love in Italy”

Forget fast-fashion with its 24 collections a year and clothes made on the other side of the world. When Elisa ARAMU (who graduated the Master in Fashion Management in 2016) set up Aramù, she opted for a sustainable, ethical and open fashion. Her collections have already won the heart of many customers. Perhaps you’ll soon have some of her pieces hanging your wardrobe?

Where does your passion for fashion come from?
I was born and raised in Biella, Italy, a city noted for its links with the textile industry. You could say that I grew up immersed in a world that stimulated my interest in fashion and beautiful fabrics. At university, I decided to take this a step further by enrolling on a dressmaking course. This allowed me to gain an understanding of not only the manufacturing process, but also the entire production chain. I am still fascinated by this sector: I love the dedication and care that goes into creating a beautiful item of clothing. It looks so easy when seen from the outside, but even after so many years, I am still discovering new techniques and skills.

Why did you decide to join the Master in Fashion Management at IÉSEG and what did you learn?
I met an IÉSEG student during a semester in Canada. She told me about the School and the opening of the Masters program which coincided 100% with my career plan. The fact that the program was developed in partnership with the Istituto Marangoni, a world-renowned fashion school, was what really swung it for me. This Master has given me so much: I joined a class of inspiring and enthusiastic students from all over the world, I saw behind the scenes at famous fashion houses and it confirmed my determination to set up my own clothing brand. That’s when Aramù was born…

How would you describe Aramù?
My aim is to showcase the expertise of Italian tailoring, but also the values that I hold dear. We produce clothing to order using high-quality fabrics which are left over from Italian manufacturers. Each design is produced in small quantities by a partner workshop and has a story behind it. I always draw inspiration from a wonderful journey or a place that I have visited to create timeless and durable pieces. Aramù’s approach is therefore a transparent and ethical one focused on slow-fashion

What is your role in this venture?
I feel like an orchestra conductor: I coordinate production, collect the fabrics, then develop the collections and think about the story I want to tell with them. Each piece is then made in a small workshop in southern Piedmont. I also work with outside contractors including a communications agency for photo shoots. We are more than a team: we are like a real family – responsive and passionate. What I like the most about my role as an entrepreneur is that there’s no such thing as a typical week and the work is varied. You need to be able to switch from creative mode to a practical one over the course of a single day. The knowledge I gained from the Master in Fashion Management at IÉSEG has really helped me to do this.

Who are your customers?
Women looking for elegant, high-quality clothing made in decent working conditions. They like to know where their purchases come from and who is behind the brand. At the moment we are focusing on the Italian market, but we have customers who live abroad, especially in France and England.

Could you have founded Aramù in another country?
Yes and no. There are many big names in the fashion and textile sector outside Italy, especially in France, for example, but I wanted my own background to be at the heart of the Aramù project. I couldn’t imagine launching it anywhere other than in the country where I was born. Italian consumers are particularly well-informed on these matters. My clients are able to recognise quality and know the value of a sustainable item of clothing. I meet them every day and I am delighted to see that my idea of a more virtuous kind fashion is so popular!

You launched Aramù a few weeks before the first lockdown. what impact did the pandemic have on this?
Aramù was set up in January 2020 and we had planned some great events in March to promote the brand. It didn’t go quite as planned… but as we were right at the beginning of the project, we were not impacted, at least not negatively. On the contrary, during the first lockdown ideas linked to a more local and ethical consumption were brought to the forefront. Consumers wanted to know where their purchases came from and how the products were made. After this period, some customers looked at fashion in a different way and this benefitted brands like Aramù. Of course, I would have liked to have started my business in different circumstances because the last two years have been a real rollercoaster, but I am already proud of the progress made.

After Paris and Biella, you have just moved to Milan. Why did you move there and what do you like the most about the city?
I spent some wonderful years in Paris as an extension of my Master at IÉSEG, then I returned to Biella to launch Aramù and moved to Milan last December. Each city corresponds to a phase of my life and I feel there are some wonderful things to enjoy here. I love Milan and its energy which I’m sure will bring a lot to the brand. It’s the capital of fashion and design, with excitement and creativity on every corner. Music and art are very important here and I make the most of every free moment to visit museums or go to exhibitions. I might even get some inspiration for future designs! For now, I want to see Aramù expand slowly, offering new pieces and collections, but also organising events tied in to its designs.

What do you think it means to be a good entrepreneur?
I think it means someone capable of being both pragmatic and creative, who knows how to listen and how to find the right people to work with. You have to be a clever mix of curiosity, humility and determination. You have to put passion into your project, know how to talk about it and believe in it. If you don’t, who will?

Career path

Elisa was graduated from the University of Turin in 2013 and went on to study for a Masters degree at the University of Laval in Quebec. It was there she learned about entrepreneurship and promised herself that one day she would create her own business.
A few months later, she enrolled on the first ever Master in Fashion Management at IÉSEG. She then joined the company La Perla where she learned the ropes of the fashion sector.
In 2018, she decided to set up her brand while working for Fila and Isabel Marant. In 2020, after two years in the planning, she launched Aramù.

This article was written by Luna Créations for IÉSEG Network’s magazine, IÉS #12.

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