Siblings in the Business of Sustainable (and Comfortable) Garments

Arun Kumar and his sister SP Ponmani were cleaning up their childhood home in Madurai one afternoon when they stumbled upon a chest filled with pure cotton clothes from when they were babies. “The material was so soft and still usable even though they were about twenty years old,” says Ponmani with amusement recalling the event that transformed their careers. Ponmani had just completed a degree in fashion design from Coimbatore while Arun returned to Madurai after a series of gigs in website and interior design in Chennai and Bangalore. While talks of marriage filled the halls of the household, the siblings decided they would utilize the skills they had acquired over the years to make an impact first.

By December 2016, the duo began hunting for hand-spun cotton to make about ten articles of clothing for newborn babies. Ponmani took up the job of designing the clothes, keeping in mind durability and comfort. The brand was called Ambaram (an ancient Tamil word that means comfortable fabric), fittingly representing the products they sold. “We wanted to design the clothes without zippers, buttons and elastic because they tend to hurt the baby,” they explain. The siblings began to spread the word about their revived baby clothing by gifting their products to people they knew.

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