Armenia has a huge heritage of visual arts. Sometimes you need new tools to promote it. “Artuyt” was founded to make Armenian art known worldwide. The company creates scarfs using paintings by the most prominent Armenian artists of the past and present. Regional Post talked to its founder Arevik Arakelyan about the origin of the project and their ambitious plans for the future.

Interview : Diana Martirosyan    Photo : Artuyt


How and why did you start this project?

— I studied Orientalistics at the university, but I always had that childhood dream of creating some combination of art and fashion. So, after lots of traveling and visiting museums I realized that it’s very important for Armenia to represent its culture with something that’s easy to show, which can tell and teach about the country. And since I was, and still am, in the fashion history and the modern world of fashion, I’ve decided to express it via scarfs.

Why scarfs?

— Well, when doing my research, I found out that historically we didn’t have much scarfs in Armenia, so I thought, maybe it was time we had. And, also, these new scarfs can tell about the history of Armenian fine art and the modern artists. Actually, no one believed that the project would succeed. Then, I told my good friend and co-worker Hovhannes Petrosyan about my idea of scarf brand, and he said: “Arev, let’s do it!” The fortunate and good part of our tandem is that we all have an experience of collaboration. So, we founded “Artuyt” in 2016, and in a short time people really loved it.

Founders of “Artuyt” Arevik Arakelyan and Hovhannes Petrosyan​

Founders of “Artuyt” Arevik Arakelyan and Hovhannes Petrosyan​

Where does the title of the brand come from?

— Why we called the brand “Artuyt?” It’s because we wanted to use “art”, but at the same time make it sound Armenian, cozy and easy pronounced. And lark is a cute Armenian bird!

In our region scarfs were used for centuries. So, how can we position it as something not conservative and completely different?

— Armenians used to wear headscarves in Eastern Armenia, in the 18th and 19th centuries: it was quite popular in Van, for example.But, in the beginning of the 20th century, somehow, we skipped the headscarf culture while it started to become popular in France as an accessory and a part of fashion industry. So, as a non-designer, I am more interested in creating something that’s not just a fashion stuff but a beautiful piece, an object, which is beautiful by itself and can complement your outfit.

Who is your typical buyer?

— “Artuyt” scarf lady is 30-something, she is stylish, but that conditional style is not overloaded, it’s quite simple.

Let’s talk about artists. There is a series of modern Armenian painters, there is Sergei Parajanov... How do you decide who’s painting will be used on the scarf?

— Even in Armenia people are mostly familiar only with Minas and Saryan, and maybe also Parajanov, but, thank God, there are many talented modern artists, too. They are mainly well-known among professionals and art critics.

I saw some pieces with miniatures.

— It’s our first museum collaboration with the Matenadaran. At that time there was no souvenir shop in the museum and we were the first to create merchandise for them. And the first individual artist was Mihran Avetisyan, a chaotic abstractionist. We saw his paintings in the private collections and his colors and style attracted and drew us. So, it’s mutually beneficial; we have paintings, the artists get promotion and dividends; we pay museums and individuals from every single sold scarf. After that, we had such collaborations with Yervand Kochar and Sergei Parajanov museums, the Modern Art museum of Yerevan collections, that include works by artists like Vruir Galstian, Minas Avetisyan, Gayane Khachaturyan and Ashot (Deghdz) Hovhannisyan. We collaborate individually with Aram Isabekyan, Tatev Ghambaryan, Karen Smbatyan and Sona Banoyan. With Sergei Parajanov, Deghdz and “Treasures of Holly Etchmiadzin” collections we were presented at TB Studio Milano showroom running by Milan Fashion Week. The third one was born after we got a proposal from the Echmiadzin Historical and Ethnographic Museum: the direction of the museum with Father Asoghik came up with an offer and now we have a very interesting collection.

It is a big success to be presented there…

— First, I heard about an Armenian guy called Tariel Bisharyan, who’s, in fact, the owner of TB studio, then we accidentally met through mutual friends. After that, we found the manufacturer, also an Italian, but not in Milan but in Como. They produce Moschino scarfs for Moschino S.p.A. So, we were lucky to have this opportunity. And, as it’s a handmade silk scarf, handwork without the use of a machine, we talk about limited circulation. But it’s not only Italy, we are going to collaborate with Russian and American markets: right now “Artuyt” is presented in Hay-Hay concept store in Zurich and a Fashion Inn showroom-shop in Glendale, and it’s having a great success. But it’s not just about California: United States is a big country and we are dreaming about New York.

woman with glasses-Artuyt

What’s next? What should we expect from “Artuyt” in the nearest future?

— Now we are planning to release Minas Avetisyan collection, collaborations with the Museum of Printing and with the Service for the Protection of Cultural Museum-Reservations: we will have Zvartnots Cathedral scarfs. Plus, “Artuyt” is also active in the field of charity: a year ago, we organized a project with Igityan Culture Centre. The kids drew their own paintings which we turned into scarfs and presented at The Club for special exhibition. The sales during exhibition was then returned to the kids of the Centre in the form painting paper and drawing accessories. And for this year, together with our partners from Easy Pay, we traveled to Norashen frontier village and provided the kids with a year’s supply of art supplies and covered one year salary of painting teacher. The kids will have a lot of time to practice, so, next year we are going to take the best paintings and make a special charity scarf collection for June 1st.