As part of our founder interview series, we speak with Chris Desai from VAYYU about his nature inspired collection.
Before launching VAYYU you worked for several years in the fashion industry. How did your experience working in mainstream fashion influence the way you wanted to set up VAYYU?
After seeing the effects of the British high-street on the environment, with its non-sustainable practices, I knew I needed to bring about change to protect the environment and the treatment of factory workers. I visited multiple factories globally and was appalled at the working conditions and the quality of the products being made and sold.
The VAYYU mantra is “Oceans | Mountains | Meditation”. How does this mantra embody VAYYU?
We are an outward expression of these principles. The freedom of the ocean and its mystery. The spirit of the exploration when ones see the mountains. And the encompassing of purposeful products and acquiring the knowledge from within through meditation.
What three words would you use to describe VAYYU?
Sustainable Luxury Lifestyle.
VAYYU started with the Men’s Provenance collection but has plans to expand. Why did you start with this collection, and how do you hope to grow?
I started with what was familiar to myself. I was always traveling and exploring but never had comfortable or durable enough clothes to wear in multipurpose situations. Flights from Heathrow at 6am, buying meetings all day and then drinks at night. Our VAYYU t-shirt is comfortable enough to travel in, breathable enough to work in and smart enough to go for drinks in.
What is The VAYYU Foundation, and why was it important to you to start this initiative?
We have to give back, I’m so fortunate to have been born and raised in this wonderful country, that I feel it’s my duty to help other people in less fortunate circumstances and also inform society about the unfortunate social and environment situations the planet now faces.
‘Ethical fashion’ is inherently hard to define. What does ‘ethical fashion’ mean to you?
Ethical fashion means a number of things to us: Transparency, Authenticity, Traceability, and Accountability. We know where our products are made, what they are made from, and not just the finished product but right down to the organic farms. VAYYU only produces high quality garments which are all tested comprehensively. We put our name to this, so we are accountable for our actions.
How does VAYYU embody your definition of ethical fashion?
VAYYU is the embodiment of ethical fashions; it’s fashionable, timeless, authentic and every garment has its own story. It’s not just mass consumerism. There is a story in every garment. For instance, our Dusky Salmon T-shirt - that exact colour was taken from a piece of seaweed I found floating in the North Sea.
What do you see as the biggest challenge in getting customers to seek out more ethical and sustainable alternatives to high street fashion?
The challenge is keeping true to ourselves and not bowing down the fashion industry's demands or trends. Instead, we need to be listening to our customers, putting them first, and being transparent so that that feel they are important and that their opinions really do matter.
What do you look for in other brands that you support?
Quality, Narrative, Ethos and Sustainability.
Lastly, what does your perfect Sunday look like?
Laying on a beach in the Bahamas with an organic cocktail, the breeze going across my face and being around all my friends and family.