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YOGI TIMES had the pleasure of sitting down with Jyoti Morningstar, Founder of fashion brand WE-AR at The Slow, Canggu, Bali. WE-AR: where yoga meets fashion on and off the mat. WE-AR prides itself as an ethical and sustainable fashion brand, committed to the ethos of caring for Mother Earth in all the areas and practices of the business.
YT: What are the challenges you have faced being an eco-friendly brand?
Jyoti Morningstar: Sourcing of eco fabric and getting consistent suppliers with the right kind of quality. WE-AR is committed to working with local companies, so often there is a lot of up-skilling required from our part to develop and support these businesses that align with our sustainable guidelines. We achieved B-Corp status in 2016 and this created a frame work where we could take our relationship with suppliers to the next level. There is so much passion and enthusiasm from our suppliers, they are our partners and on the same level - working together to create a sustainable future together.
YT: Where have you positioned WE-AR as a brand?
Jyoti Morningstar: WE-AR is about authentic connection. We design clothes that work for a holistic lifestyle. Elegant off-duty wear that pairs with highly functional yoga wear to create supple looks that transition seamlessly between the studio and off the mat living. I like to think I’m designing for the educated optimist whose sartorial instinct and higher principles need to fold easily into lightweight, vegan luggage for a lifestyle of well-being and endless adventure.
YT: What is YOGA to you?
Jyoti Morningstar: Yoga is about being present in this very moment. It’s the only moment that exists and therefore the only moment in which we have the power to truly listen, witness, feel, experience and act.
YT: Have you had any defining moments come through whilst building an ethical brand that has changed your life?
Jyoti Morningstar: I designed WE-AR when I was 31. I grew up in a yogic environment. I have built this brand to share my passion for humanity to come together, to wake up and evolve together. So I wouldn’t say it’s changed me but it has helped develop me and there has been a fine tuning process for sure. WE-AR allows me to develop and express my values and beliefs, to embody my yogic principles in the world in a sustainable way. Sustainability requires so much discipline. WE-AR tries to present its philosophy in bite sized morsels that allow people to enter the story where they are at. WE-AR is interested in connecting people with their own values and expressing it in the community. What has developed in me as an individual in building this ethical brand is tenacity and perseverance. Honouring what has been started and what is growing day in and day out, the community around me… this requires discipline and personal engagement.
YT: What was your inspiration behind creating WE-AR?
Jyoti Morningstar: It's all in the name; WE-AR comes from the seed mantra ‘So Ham’ which translates as ‘I Am’ or ‘We Are’, meaning all is one. We are one. Connecting our individual choices to the world we experience manifesting around us reveals our own power both individually and in the community. My founding inspiration is about creating a design business that serves as a reminder of this whilst creating some models for solutions along the way. There has long been a boring rhetoric about choosing between profitability or people and planet. But when we know we are all part of the same universe it becomes clear that harming anything is harming ourselves and that’s just plain silly isn’t it? It’s time to engage our hearts and bodies as well as our brilliant minds in creating ethical solutions to our need for food, clothes, shelter and the artistic longing for beauty.
YT: Where do you find inspiration for your collections?
Jyoti Morningstar: Often I am just blown away by an individual color or light effect. From there it flabbergasts me and it becomes a seed of something. In a way, it is a collaboration of the senses... A visual "something" that sparks the inspiration and then the technical aspect. Clothes that I want to wear, that I would like my friends to wear. I design a lot of men’s wear that I would like my male friends to wear. Watching people’s bodies inspires me as the clothing gains a beauty beyond the material.
YT: What does conscious consumerism mean to you?
Jyoti Morningstar: Realizing that you have the power in the collective story, every dollar spent is a vote. Realizing your own agency in determining what is available and how it is available. Every dollar spent is a vote for what you believe in and what you value in our shared world. We are all part of the same story; we are powerful agents. It’s a big responsibility to use our power wisely by making the right choices every time we make a purchase.
YT: Three words that you live by
Jyoti Morningstar: Listen. Collaborate. Embody. Love. (ok that’s four ;-))
YT: If there was one thing you would want every customer to feel / think / relate to your brand, what would that be?
Jyoti Morningstar: Their own beauty and freedom, their own power to create the shared collective. The collective reality.
YT: What has been your greatest lesson in life and why?
Jyoti Morningstar: Tenderness with everything. Despite our grown-up exterior, we are all in a state of becoming. Conjuring tenderness in our interactions allows the beauty of the individual and the moment to be revealed.
YT: Of all the things you experienced in life, what brings you the most joy?
Jyoti Morningstar: Connecting to myself, the environment around me, friends, the people. The moment you can share stories and have a sense of connection without even trying, that is beautiful to me.