PRIYA AND DIVYA KUKAR
We aspired to create a brand of yoga clothing that speaks to our East meets West identity and that has ethical and eco consciousness at its core.
While many brands were offering synthetic yoga clothes and athleisure, we wanted our yoga clothes for women to be natural and breathable in line with the essence of yoga.
The brand name derives from the Sanskrit word 'chakra', meaning the energy forces in the body, and has 7 letters to mirror the 7 chakras. The Y in the centre of the brand name symbolises how yoga and general wellness practices balance vital energy flows and are personal to 'You' as an individual. Our signature print of a swirl mosaic was designed to be a modern interpretation of energy.
Living and working with your sister has its challenges but we generally work on different projects. Priya handles the day to day operations and management of the company, while Divya’s skill set lends itself more to marketing and promotion.
We always keep fresh flowers in our lounge as that creates a more zen working environment and we have a Himalayan salt lamp and candles usually lit, especially during the winter months. Our mum is an artist, specialising in abstractions of the Hindu elephant god Ganesh, so we have a lot of her paintings in the flat and many elephant ornaments as well. In fact, we're surrounded by trinkets from our travels, and especially India, which provide colour and pattern inspiration.
On the challenges we faced: Getting the sourcing right and developing a product that meets your quality and design standards is very challenging. You need to be patient, persistent and hard working.
We started our brand with certain principles in mind that we are determined to uphold, such as the full transparency of an ethical supply chain and ensuring natural resources are at the heart of how our products are made. We select sourcing and manufacturing partners very carefully in accordance with that ethos.
On sustainability: Our yoga pants and yoga tops are made with fair trade organic cotton from a GOTS certified factory in India. Our cotton is procured from Chetna Organic, a social cooperative which works with more than 15,000 small and marginal farmers, helping them to improve their livelihood options and to increase the sustainability and profitability of their farming systems. Garments manufactured from Chetna cotton are completely traceable, right down to a specific farmer's field.
We send our clothes to customers in a cotton pouch and are working towards removing plastic entirely from our supply chain.
On the role of yoga: I (Priya) have done yoga teacher training in Himalayan Hatha Yoga which is an incredibly grounding practice that has given me such valuable spiritual, physical and mental benefits. I do my own self-practice most days as well as continuing to practice with my teacher Yogi Ashokananda. While I hope to start teaching soon, I see myself as a life-long student of yoga.
Yoga for both of us was a discipline we attached to our heritage, but it was only when we started chaYkra that we both became invested in it as a regular hobby and something which we now rely on for a holistic wellness fix. With hectic city lives, that time for pause spent on a yoga mat (whether in a class, in a garden/park or at home) is a firm block in our calendars.
Doing yoga regularly has also given us a deeper understanding of which clothing styles are ideally suited for asanas (including headstands!) and the type of natural yoga mats we would like to practice on.