We had a chance to chat with Eva Estlander, the founder of Moonah Wear. We discussed how she built a sustainable yoga wear brand Moonah Wear and her approach to all things sustainable.
How are you doing Eva? Could you tell us a bit about you and your brand Moonah Wear? How was the idea born?
Thank you for asking, I am doing okay taking into consideration that it’s November. Maybe it’s because I know I am soon heading to Mexico!
I am a yoga teacher, sound bath facilitator and the founder of Moonah Wear, a sustainable yoga clothing line. I have been teaching and leading yoga retreats for well over a decade and educating new yoga teachers for years. I spent a big chunk of my twenties residing in a small fishing village on the Pacific coast of Mexico soaking in the sun, warmth and Mexican energy. I moved back to Finland about four years ago and founded Moonah Wear two years after that.
Moonah Wear was born out of love for women, the moon and our planet. I wanted to create something that would weave together everything that I love: yoga, spirituality, marketing and sustainability. I also wanted to bring some vibrance with me from Mexico once I moved back to Finland.
While living in Mexico I learned about how the tides affect our planet and oceans (through surfing, as we would always look at the tide charts), simultaneously my spiritual path became deeper. I studied the symbolism behind the Moon and how it has been used in different cultures through aeons of time. The Moon has been worshipped and considered a symbol for the feminine. I also visited the Moon pyramid outside of Mexico city and became fascinated with the moon cycle and the cyclical essence of nature.
Slowly after having relocated back to my Scandinavian roots of Helsinki, Finland, this idea of crafting my own yoga clothing started to take form. I learned about ECONYL®, a regenerated nylon made out of old fishing nets and other waste. As the Moon moves the waters, and the tides bring in the waste, it made sense to use this yarn, not only for its sustainable nature, but its cyclical essence.
To me, Moonah Wear is more than just any other yoga wear brand. It’s a reminder to shine brightly, just like the moon does, yet in a way without harming mama Earth.
What has been the hardest part of the journey, and which one the easiest?
The hardest part of the journey is definitely getting traction and visibility amongst the big players within the clothing industry. Even if sustainability is becoming an important aspect in people's purchasing decisions, many still opt for fast fashion and the cheapest option. I know this is changing, however change does take some time. Moonah Wear was created out of pocket money, without any funding behind it, meaning I make all the decisions myself. It’s been a process and a journey, basically learning by doing, and I’ve made many mistakes along the way.
The easiest part has been collaborating with other female led companies, which has also been something that I truly have enjoyed along the way. I love how willing and open almost all fellow female entrepreneurs have been to co-create together. That has been a nice surprise.
What makes a brand sustainable in your opinion?
Transparency, willingness to change and of course having your ducks in a row, meaning actually practising what you preach. Unfortunately there’s lots of greenwashing taking place, so you have to have some discernment in seeing who actually is sustainable, and who is claiming they are.
How do you consider sustainability in Moonah Wear?
Sustainability was one of the cornerstones and fundamental values as a brand, we have made sure to make conscious choices throughout all our practices. Just like us humans, many sustainable brands are doing their best, but it’s not always easy.
There are very few businesses that can claim to be 100% sustainable. As a commercial operator we can never be perfect. However, we feel it’s important to continuously educate ourselves and make better choices. As the founder of Moonah Wear, I want to take a moment to break down how we operate and why we use the materials we do, and that I am also aware of the various challenges with different types of fabrics. Did you know that conventional cotton is responsible for around 25% of the world’s pesticide use and enormous amounts of water? And that viscose is made from trees and toxic chemicals.
Besides, it’s proving much easier to create a circular economy in fashion—one where resources are used over and over again—with synthetics, which are easier to recycle than most natural fibres. Another advantage with synthetic fabrics is their outstanding performance, durability, quick drying and moisture wicking properties.
At Moonah Wear we use ECONYL® which is regenerated nylon to craft our yoga wear, Pure Waste for our hoodies and GOTS certified cotton for our t-shirts. Our designs are made of post-consumer plastic collected from the ocean. We use GOTS certified cotton for our t-shirts and surplus cotton cutting waste for our hoodies. Our production is in Europe to lessen shipping distances and lower our CO2 footprint. All our clothing is shipped in recycled plastic packaging.
Our aim is to design yoga clothing that’s in style for a long time. We’re not the ones to chase seasons or new trends. That’s why you don’t see galaxies, daisies or sun flowers on our leggings or tops - but instead solid colors that are both timeless and elegant, yet uplifting and vibrant. All our colors mix and match perfectly.
How do you take your sustainable approach from business to your everyday life?
This is a big one. I definitely feel that I am far from perfect, I just told you how I am soon travelling to the other side of the world, which is obviously not the most sustainable thing to do. That being said, I have been a vegetarian for well over 13 years and on and off vegan, which again is a green thing to do.
Instead of beating myself up about travelling, which is not sustainable, I do other things to compensate.
When it comes to my personal style, shopping and preference, is to choose quality over quantity. So instead of buying several cheap items, I opt for a few long lasting items. Other things that I do: I have a refillable water bottle, instead of single use bottles, I have a cotton tote, instead of continuously buying plastic bags, I choose seasonal food etc. It’s the small things that end up creating a bigger impact.
What small action would you recommend to anyone who wants to start getting into a more eco-conscious lifestyle?
I guess my advice is to start somewhere: changing your entire life can feel overwhelming but taking action is important. Learn about companies sustainability practices, ask questions, vote with your money (aka where you shop from) and vote with what you put on your plate. If possible, cut meat and dairy (or reduce), support sustainable brands and skip fast fashion.
Thank you so much Eva!
Follow Moonah Wear on Instagram: @moonahwear