Amu Cherian is an Indian inspired brand whose products are handcrafted in the USA, have been recognized in London, worn in Africa, and sold as far as Australia. Based out of Waukesha, Wisconsin, Amu Cherian is more than just a local brand.
Perhaps AMU’s memorability is due to the unique color, exotic print, and overall vibrancy of the clothing. The brand’s intent is to allow its customers to live life to the fullest and embrace every aspect of it. It is clothing that gives the wearer confidence to stand out in a crowd regardless of size, age, or career. The women wear AMU love to show off their personality through their clothing, to embrace clothing made specifically for them and feel connected to the designer who made them.
However, the self-taught designer, Ammu Cherian, is just as unforgettable as her clothing. Her colleagues have described her as extroverted; she can confidently walk up to anyone, extend a hand, and say, “Hello, I’m Ammu…” If anyone is qualified to pass on confidence through clothing it is Ammu. Her personal motto bears a resemblance to her brand’s, to not have regrets in life. She explains, “you can always get over failure however hard it is. Regrets are a lot harder to get over.” In suit with her life motto, Ammu quit her corporate job as a business analyst and started designing her own fashion line. The best skill she brings to the job? Being a self-taught designer. “I believe it gives me the freedom to do what I want, the way I want to, without being confined within industry set rules,” she says.
And while Ammu’s clothing is modern and rule-breaking, the print on her clothing is done by hand block printing which is the oldest form of textile printing originating from India. “AMU is my interpretation of my cultural heritage in a global aesthetic,” she says. When women wear AMU, they appreciate the art form and the uniqueness of the outfit. Local artisans in India hand carve wooden blocks that make up the intricate designs on AMU’s clothing. It can take 2-4 days to carve a single block, the process of printing the design onto fabric can take 3-8 hours, and stitching the outfit can take anywhere from 6-36 hours depending. This lengthy process is what defines AMU as a slow fashion brand.
Slow fashion is the deliberate choice to buy ethically-made, better-quality items less often. It is a revolt against fast fashion and overconsumption in which purchases are unnecessary and trend driven.
“I care about running a responsible business, … I want to be mindful of the environmental impact a business can have,” Ammu says. AMU clothing is made to be worn for a long time and Ammu follows other sustainable practices in creating her clothing. The clothing is made from natural fibers such as cotton, rayon, and wool; everything is made to order to reduce the amount of wastage in production; and leftover fabric is reused to create the packaging for the clothing. Beyond being a slow, sustainable brand, Ammu strongly believes in empowering women. 10% of her sales go towards helping women who have been sex trafficked or abused. “I would love to provide jobs to women from a lower income background and give them a safe and thoughtful work environment,” she says.
As far as other goals that Ammu has, she strives to have a presence in retail stores, have global sales, and expand manufacturing capabilities. With her fearless attitude and personal motto in mind, she is bound to meet her goals in the next couple of years. Ammu admires women she finds commonalities with, women like Oprah Winfrey, Ellen DeGeneres, Priyanka Chopra, Anita Dongre, and Gina Rodriguez. Women who have overcame obstacles in order to create a space for themselves in their fields. Ammu looks forward to being in the likes of these women without forgetting the strong women who make up the foundation for her brand. “Be mindful of the significant impact you have as an individual,” she says with her customary voice of empowerment.