When it comes to eating well, we'd like to think we've got it sussed; from generally steering clear of refined sugars and additives to enjoying the occasional glass of wine, it's all about balance and moderation. You don't need us to tell you that what you put into your body affects your mood and general wellbeing.
With that in mind, the same can also be said for what you put on your body; natural and organic skincare has never been so popular (see some of our favourite's at Content Beauty & Wellbeing, Glasshouse and Skin & Tonic) and ethical fashion has never looked so cool. Gone are days where sustainable = hemp peasant blouses, the latest sustainable fashion brands are making a meaningful impact on not only the way we dress but the way we work out.
We caught up with Rachel Bauer, founder of eco-activewear brand VYAYAMA to discover the long-term benefits of investing in sustainable fabrics and how we can all help reduce our impact on the environment through more ethical fashion choices.
What inspired you to launch VYAYAMA?
I wanted to create a line of clothing that would respect not only the environment but the people producing it. Clothing that would be kind to the skin, beautiful to wear and give the consumer a mindful choice. I wanted to create clothing in line with yogic values that could also become an integral part of a fashion wardrobe.
One design inspiration to that end, was to satisfy my own desire to wear leggings that were made from natural fibres and were also a deep, long lasting matte black; because I don't believe mindfulness should compromise style! The result is our custom fabric KALABLAKTM range made with eco-friendly Tencel® and black Italian elastane. All of the clothing in the line is created from custom fabrics in natural and noble fibres. So VYAYAMA is a clothing line I am very proud of.
How did you initially set about sourcing sustainable fabrics and what led you to use Tencel®?
Ethical fabrics and production was a necessity, as we wanted to create zero impact on the environment. Synthetic garments will never biodegrade and contribute to global warming. Cotton production uses too many pesticides. Growing organic cotton takes a lot of water consumption and clean water will be as valuable as oil in only a few decades. The problem with both synthetic and cotton fabrics is that they do not naturally have the properties we need in active clothing. They need to be sprayed with additives that can be absorbed by the skin or washed out in laundry to damage the planet. As we set out to find a healthier alternative for both our skin and the environment, we found Tencel® from Lenzing.
Tencel® made from sustainably-farmed eucalyptus trees is a natural, plant-based source rather than oil-derived. The trees originate from a South African wood that is Forest Stewardship Council-certified sustainable. The pulping is done in an energy-efficient plant in Austria and the fibre is closed loop, meaning that most all solvents and water from the process are recycled.
How is natural fabric better for the body than modern synthetic fabrics?
Unfortunately, we find that many people are not yet informed about the level of toxins in their clothes, specifically synthetics, which make up most of the yoga wear clothes on the market today. These garments have performance features that are chemical treatments, which could have a potential negative impact on personal health.
According to the Canadian Cancer Society, some of the commonly occurring chemicals found in synthetic clothing - such as polybrominated diphenyl ethers (flame retardants) and phthalates - are capable of causing skin rashes, birth defects, developmental difficulties in children and cancer.
Our garments have absolutely nothing harmful that pose a risk to human health. VYAYAMA clothing is naturally wicking, anti bacterial and PH Skin friendly. One big plus with nontoxic clothing, is the skin friendly pH. When the skin's pH level is compromised by toxins, your defences are down, leaving the body vulnerable to bacteria, moisture loss, and irritation. Our Oeko-tex certified garments avoid all these stresses and feel lovely against your skin.
Describe the VYAYAMA woman:
The VYAYAMA woman is a free spirit with a love for travel and curiosity for the adventures of life. She values the beauty of nature and makes conscious daily decisions to preserve the environment, but doesn’t compromise on style or fun! A VYAYAMA woman's lifestyle is about the balance of awareness and joie de vivre.
VYAYAMA pronounced 'vai'-ah-mah' is a 3000 year old Sanskrit word 'to move.' to tame the inner breath'. The ancient Ayurvedic texts describe vyayama as movement designed to stabilize and strengthen the body.
Here are some of our other favourite ethical and sustainable brands, let us know in the comments section if you have any recommendations!
Matt & Nat
Inspired by nature, Canadian accessories brand Matt & Nat are committed to not using leather or any other animal-based materials and often experiment with different recycled materials such as cardboard, rubber and cork.
Made using environmentally sensitive fabrics (including organic cotton, model & tencel) SVILU creates thoughtfully designed staples for the 'modern' woman. We love this camel coat - an investment piece to see you through to Summer.
Founded by Danish sisters Arina and Anya, WORON creates timeless lingerie staples that are comfortable without compromising feminine shaping. Every garment is made using modal fabric; the beech trees are sourced from sustainable forestry plantations in Europe to keep production as 'close to home' as possible.
Luxury vegetarian brand Stella McCartney strives to operate a business that 'respects the planet as well as the people and animals on it'. They use vegetarian leather, wood & paper from sustainable sources, polyester from recycled bottles and organic cotton where possible.
O My Bag at The Acey
Made from eco-leather and tanned using natural ingredients to protect the environment, this pixie pouch by O My Bag is the perfect size for cards, cash and handbag essentials. The Acey is your one-stop shop for all things sustainable and ethical - we'd thoroughly recommend a visit to their website, though your bank balance might not thank you for it, your conscience will.