Shifting to more ethical and intelligent ways of working is the zeitgeist of fashion in 2019. Slowly but surely, more brands are placing an emphasis on environmental consciousness and, as ardent supporters of sustainable efforts, we’re celebrating the brands doing just that. Each week, we’ll be meeting the brands fashioning beautiful goods with the greater good in mind.

RANI by RAJA is a London-based powerhouse on a mission to use fashion’s cultural power to break down the barriers between the East and West. At the core of the brand is an exploration of identity – bringing together years of tradition and style through collections that are modern yet timeless, rooted in tradition but also incredibly practical. 

The brand was founded by two British Asian sisters, Akta and Nimi Raja from Bolton. According to the sisters, they “lived life with two separate wardrobes for ‘Indian’ and ‘Western’ wear,” hiding their Indian clothes under big coats. After straddling two cultures and identities their whole lives, the sisters became acutely aware that there wasn’t a fashion brand which represented their dualities. And so, RANI by RAJA was born as a “a contemporary edit of Indian inspired modern fashion, ready to wear and made-to-measure”.

RANI by RAJA’s designs use the material and fabric of India to represent the heritage and craft of the country. “We like to use materials that celebrate the patterns that are heavily associated with India like paisley, it’s an iconic symbol of the country. We use fabric in its purest form; raw silk, pure cotton,” the sisters tell us. Elsewhere, as the sisters curate from Indian-based designers, traditional techniques are kept alive. Among these, a hand printing technique from Kalamkari. “During the process, dyes are created naturally, for example, indigo is made from the indigo plant for yellow,” the duo explain.

However, the sisters do also set out to ensure both sides of their cultural DNA is represented, as RANI by RAJA is very much a British (Asian) label. They don’t believe there is any real science or system to their combined East-and-West aesthetic, “because it stems from the very DNA of how we live life. It’s instinct. Cultural clashes, contrasts and cross cultural parings is literally how we’ve lived, so we apply that way of living to how we style and form an identity through fashion.”

With philanthropic efforts at its core, RANI by RAJA has just announced its collaboration with education charity, ATMA. ATMA supports children from low income families who don’t have access to the education they deserve. “From day one, giving back was a core pillar in our brand DNA,” Akta and Nimi say. “With ATMA, we were incredibly inspired by the fact that it facilitates an ecosystem that sets companies up to becoming self sustainable and impactful and in turn gives the young, underprivileged children in India that same opportunity. That way, the benefits they bring become sustainable.”

All profits arising out of the sales of specific products, including its own brand T-shirts and other merchandise will go to ATMA. “ATMA partners with education NGOs to provide the training and systems they need to grow into high impact organisations but otherwise cannot get, so it literally gets these organisations on their feet,” to duo explain. “In turn, this means these organisations can grow into high impact organisations that can help more children.”

The future is looking very bright for RANI by RAJA. The brand has a cultural point of view and a societal agenda, and it’s harnessing the power of fashion to push that agenda. As they grow, they want to be more than a fashion brand, but a platform for stories that progress agendas surrounding race, identity and the environment.

Akta and Nimi believe the future of the brand also lies in the power of the collective. Organically RANI has become a network for the most incredible women, from all walks of life, creeds, colours who share an outlook and enjoy spending time with each other. People come to our pop-ups and events not only to shop but also to network and spend time with these other incredible women who are all doing amazing things”.

Not only are they defining a new fashion category, the duo are utilising their platform to help, support and encourage others to succeed, and we can’t wait to watch this inspiring journey develop.

Discover RANI By RAJA's signature styles here

More Brands To Believe In: 

+ Bespoke London-based label Eponine

Bangladeshi bag company Lidia May

+ Ecologically-minded jeweller Cornelia Webb