You probably put some thought into what you wear to yoga. Is it comfortable enough? Fashionable? Sweat-resistant? Flattering? While all of these qualities are important, probably the first thing we should all be doing is reading the labels and finding out if our yogawear is in accordance with the principle of ahimsa, or non-harming.
That's where British sportswear designer OHMME is trying to make a difference. OHMME, a play on "Om" and the French word for man, is trying to change the yoga landscape in two ways: one, by creating fashion-forward, sweat-wicking, comfortable yoga clothes for men (thereby reassuring guys that yoga is for them, too), and two, by making sustainable clothing that uses the latest eco-technologies, and aims to make the world (or at least the textile industry) a little greener.
"With the support of our community, we are building a company that is constantly lowering its environmental impact and embarking on open and honest business practices," OHMME CEO and practicing yogi Louis d'Origny tells Yoga Journal.
How OHMME Is Making a Difference
To work toward this goal of sustainability (and a much cleaner textile industry), OHMME aims to use OEKO-TEX or bluesign® certified fabrics, particularly in their upcoming Casual Wear Collection, in which almost every item was made with eco-friendly technologies similar to the ones used in their current Eco Collection. This means that every stage of fabric production was heavily monitored, so that water usage, chemical disposal, and energy sources were as clean as possible. OHMME also endeavors to use recycled fabrics to reduce the impact on the planet in terms of energy usage and the reduction of waste.
"The textile industry is notoriously dirty and uses a lot of chemicals," d'Origny says. "Many fabric mills aren't always scrupulous on how they dispose of these chemicals. Plus, many of the countries in which textile mills are located have very lax environmental laws, which means that the industry is often self-regulating. Bluesign or OEKO-TEX mills have much stricter standards and rules toward water and the usage of pollutants."
A second way that OHMME is trying to have a positive impact is by using a patented technology called Green Defence. Green Defence uses natural, non-harmful ingredients to give clothes an antibacterial property (and eliminate odors). The process is done by adding cinnamon and almond extracts directly onto recycled polyester chips so that they can be weaved directly onto the fabric, making its surface less congenial for bacteria. Using Green Defence helps OHMME avoid other, more polluting ways of achieving similar results, such as spraying heavy metals like silver onto clothes.
While using eco-technologies can be time-consuming and does add to the cost (it can take up to three months for OHMME to spin a fabric to their liking), d'Origny believes it's worth it. "I find that for me, the definition of quality nowadays is not only how good does this fabric feel on me, but also, what were the environmental costs of using it? People are waking up to this, particularly in the yoga world."