Practising yoga as we all know, is more than a series of postures; it is a lifestyle, a way of thinking, being and acting. However you interpret these things, ‘ahimsa’, the concept of non harm is at the heart of our practice. So how can we translate that into daily life? Many ways in fact, including even the clothing we choose to wear and the mats we use to practice on. So with the help of Dubai’s YApparel, as part of our campaign, #ichooseeco, here are six ethical and eco friendly brands (in no particular order) to help you not only look and feel amazing on and off the mat, but know you’re doing a little something to support the smaller, more conscious brands trying to make a difference. It’s important to remember that these brands won’t necessarily be cheap or cheaper than your high street brands, many of which we now know, have been caught up in sweatshop scandals. Much like organic food, it stays expensive until more of us start to buy it. Fashion is the number 2 most polluting industry on Earth, second only to oil. Think about that for a moment. Number 2, only to oil; Non bio-degradable clothing waste can sit in landfills for up to 200 years, factories are producing horrific pollution and health hazards to workers and those living nearby, the pesticides sprayed on the vast swathes of cotton crops are killing children in the developing world and people are being paid as little as $10 a month in often violent and degrading working conditions, all to put the clothes on our back. So even if you wait for the sales, put these brands on your bucket list, because the more we buy here and there, the more affordable they can be.
Under The Same Sun
Under The Same Sun work 100% with low impact textiles such as recycled polyester,
tencel, and organic leather (not one for the vegans, of course). One of my favourites they use is their crossover fabric which can be used on the mat or in the water, known as Newlife™ premium polyester, made of around 86% recycled plastic bottles. Not only that, it uses 53% less energy and water, and produces 54.6% fewer greenhouse gas emissions than regular polyester. The Swedish brand set up by two friends, say that recycling polyester fabrics decreases environmental impact and in turn, less crude oil is taken from earth’s resources. It also cuts down on energy use, chemical use, waste material and toxic emissions and makes less soil, water and air pollution. Each pair of their leggings recycles approximately 25 plastic bottles. Pretty awesome, right? This brand isn’t cheap but their fabrics are strong, comfortable and durable as well as being beautifully unique in style. Not only that, they can double up for watersports as well as on your mat!
Tonic Active is designed and manufactured in Vancouver, Canada, supporting the local economy in addition to reducing the carbon footprint. They source materials that better our bodies and planet Earth. I love this brand, and especially love their sun screen pants which are water and mat wearable. Their designs and fabrics are classic and flattering and extremely durable.
In addition to local production and working with local small, family run businesses, Dharma Bums is eco friendly wherever possible. From recycled paper for all stationary, packaging and promotional material to not not using harsh chemicals in the dying of their garments, they are making conscious steps. By working closely with their supply base and having it close to home they are able to make small batches to order so get rid of the need for excess stock which creates unnecessary waste and landfill (not to mention meaning you aren’t wearing the same pants as half the other girls in class!). They also don’t use any animal products.
This Brazilian brand is one of the most affordable around for its leggings, and their sales are not to be missed. From recycling left over materials to using rain water for production and energy saving machinery, the company’s practices are conscious from employment to production. Everything is local and employees (all over age 18) at its factory get an enviable 30 days annual leave plus health insurance. (Read it and weep USA…) I also love its special needs employee programme. Because every little movement for change helps.
Electric and Rose
Their factory is known for being one of the most sustainable in all of Los Angeles. All garments are made in the US and the company are huge proponents of cotton, believing the natural fibers make their products unique and more breathable. As the other side of the coin, they don’t believe in using materials such as recycled plastic bottles because the energy it takes to transfer the bottles, they believe is actually more harmful to the environment.
Husband and wife team, Gil and Susi Plesser began the company when dedicated Ashtangi Susi wanted to created something as beautiful as she felt the practice was, wanting to move away . Hand made in Bali, there is no mass production, and the couple have been making their natural fibre collections including rayon lycra, a mix of wood pulp and cotton, with the same manufacturers and their families for the last 15 years. Yogi Susi, who is now at the end of the Ashtanga second series (holy moly!) tests out all the clothing first.
- Over the next four weeks, our #ichooseeco campaign will be showing you ways to add a little bit more eco into your lives. From the clothing we buy to the daily things we do from recycling, to eating more organic and local produce, to installing water filters in our homes, we will be sharing little tips to help you. Follow myself and YApparel on Instagram for the chance to win a voucher worth $200 or a private yoga session with me.