Sundari’s voyage began when a hairdresser in her mid-20s, living what she describes as an ordinary life in Southwest England, decided to pack her bags and explore the world.
During this long odyssey, Sundari kept her material basics to one small backpack, and clothes quickly wore out. Something that had always been close to her heart, Sundari tried to find new garments made from sustainable fabrics, such as hemp, but could never find the right fusion of functional and fashionable clothing.
Sundari decided to teach herself to make her own clothes. When interest in her designs developed, Sundari began selling her clothes and jewellery at local markets that she came across on her global journey. Today, Sundari Creations has evolved into a brand of its own.
Sundari means the divine mother of inner beauty in Sanskrit, and was inspired by the name she was given by her yoga teacher during a stay at a Sivananda ashram.
“I learnt many lessons in life, including that we should not be scared to shine and be who we are. Therefore, when setting up my fashion house, it seemed like an apt name.”
Apparel of Amazon Adventures
The designs take their inspiration from nature, in particular from her solo voyage to the Amazon Rainforest.
Sundari travelled to Peru, where she went from the mountains right into the heart of the jungle. Meeting a local curandero (native medicine man), Sundari learnt to work with medicinal plants.
“It was an intense and inspirational experience. I have always been interested in the healing power of plants and herbs. Living in a small tambo (Incan structure) with the sounds and sights of nature all around me was simply beautiful and magical.”
Since then, Sundari has always been compelled to weave blessings into the clothes, and the names for the collection, such as 'a touch of grace', 'amazonia', and 'sacred moments', are the result.
The latest collection, 'live your dreams', promotes natural dyes made from teak leaves and cherry wood leaf, creating a gorgeous palette of soft colours, including gold, taupe, white and purple. The way the garments are dyed means that the leaf patterns, such as bark and sheba, become part of the fabric.
Active Spirits of Indonesia
Sundari Creations is committed to a 100% sustainable supply chain. The team is based in Bali, Indonesia, for much of the year, and has been working with a local production house for the last five years.
“By living close to our suppliers, we have developed good relationships. We can guarantee ethically made clothes from a team being paid fairly and under good working conditions.”
Sundari Creations has chosen to work with the fabric tencel, a tree pulp fibre made with minimum pollution.
Compared to polyester and spandex, Sundari uses organic cotton lycra for its active clothing collection, which is both breathable and comfortable.
“The existing fashion industry is focused on consuming and polluting, but I believe the future lies in fabrics that are made to last their natural lifespan, and then biodegrade.”
The team is particular about paying attention to detail during the tailoring process. Despite being active wear, Sundari garments can easily last six years, when laundered on a cold wash and through natural drying.
Many of the brand’s active clothes are designed to be versatile, so you can wear them both in the street and on the yoga mat or in the dance studio. Their leggings are excitingly different with crisscross and lace up elements, while their hooded jackets ooze style and natural grace.
While Sundari acknowledges that there are limits to what small scale fashion houses and producers can do, she feels that the boutiques who stock her collections appreciate the story behind the label.
“It is a challenge for a small brand, as our purchasing power is limited, but we are all individual custodians of the earth, and we believe the journey we have chosen is crucial.”
Cutting edge design for Sundari goes beyond the fabric; it means ignoring seasonal fashion trends, and focusing on classic designs that stand the test of the time.
“For me, living a life of passion will always be a journey. It’s about following your dreams, thinking outside of the box, not being restricted to certain ideals, and having trust and faith. Sundari Creations will always innovate.”