With the world of yoga attire and accessories increasingly commercialized, it’s always a treat to come across a company holding true to its eco-friendly and ethical standards. So when I first tried on my Soul Flower tank and pants, I was elated to see the proudly-displayed inner tag reading: MADE IN CALIFORNIA. Post-consumer Recycled Plastic. 50% recycled polyester, 50% organic cotton, dyed with low-impact dyes in a certified organic dye process.
Within minutes, I was wearing the long pants and tank around the house, eager to break in the clothing before yoga class the next day. Immediately I noticed the fabrics were incredibly soft, comfortable, with a lounge-like vibe. To be honest, I didn’t want to take them off, and may or may not have slept in them that night, wearing them straight through to my planned vinyasa yoga class.
During class, neither piece got in the way—the pants, contrary to what many yoga clothing companies seem to use as the standard length for pant legs (i.e., TOO LONG!), were the perfect fit for me (I’m 5’6” and the pants were size small). My only general complaint was that the drawstring at the waist wasn’t quite as comfortable as an elastic fit for me—I wonder if this design choice was a matter of eco-consciousness or not (can the style of fold-over/elastic waists on competing brands not be made sustainably? I don’t know). Likewise, the fabric was a bit warm for the Southern California spring climate, but would be perfectly cozy for practicing in a Boston or Chicago winter. The pants stayed up no problem (I didn’t once have to hike them up or re-tie them) during a vigorous vinyasa flow class, even holding their position during Urdhva Dhanurasana (wheel pose) and inversions like Salamba Sarvangasana (shoulder stand).
The top was, as I expected from wearing it to bed, equally soft and comfortable. I also liked the message my ‘Namaste’ and lotus design on the front were sending to other practitioners in the class. In all standing and twisting postures (like Utkatasana and Ardha Chandrasana) the flowiness of the top didn’t bother me at all—of course, in inversions such as handstand (Adho Mukha Vrksasana), it flopped to my shoulders, so if you’re someone who prefers to cover your midsection in yoga, the style of this shirt (at least when upside down) may be too revealing. That said, the flared bottom fit of the top would be appealing to wear over leggings or even just as a casual day tank.
I enjoyed these pieces so much I wanted to learn more about the belief system of a clothing company calling itself such a free-spirited name as “Soul Flower.” On the company’s site, I learned that the brand has small, locally-minded beginnings: “Soul Flower was founded in 1999 by Mike and Peggy as a way to promote a bohemian, eco-friendly, and peaceful lifestyle.” The first shop was located on Grand Avenue in Saint Paul, Minnesota, providing wares to local college kids and self-proclaimed hippies.
Now the company has expanded (and I’m grateful!) to include an extensive online store. I’ve got my eye on the zig-zaggy organic leggings and more yoga-meets-lifestyle offerings like the Earth Recycled Boxy Top and Free Fly Ebb & Flow Top.
In the end, the best compliment of the clothing came from my husband a few days later when I was still lounging around our house in the yoga-meets-lifestyle duds.
“Those clothes are really cute,” he said—and this coming from a man who never seems to notice any of my fashion choices.
“Cute and eco-friendly and comfortable!” I exclaimed, sounding like the beginning of an advertising campaign—beliefs I hope will continue to be supported by Soul Flower and other sustainable-minded yoga companies who truly live up to the tenets of a yoga lifestyle.
Kaitlin Solimine is a writer and China specialist who blogs about mindful travel and lifestyle choices at Cold Mountain Collective. She is a co-founder and curator at HIPPO Reads. Follow her on Twitter.