We love meeting inspiring businesses in the UAE that providing solutions that support a conscious lifestyle. One such business is yApparel (cool name right?!), which is a curated boutique that provides activewear that is not only sustainable but also looks good. Established in 2014 as a store and and now also an online site, yApparel provides 10 unique brands including Dharma Bums, Spiritual Gangster and Tonic.
We caught up with the founder of yApparel, Dina Ghandour to understand her story and to learn a bit more about the brand. Spoiler alert: there's also a really cool offer if you read on!
What was your story behind starting yApparel?
yApparel was founded in Dubai in 2014 to serve a growing yoga and active community. We saw a gap in the market in terms of retail, and the response so far has been fantastic. Our goal was always to bring a range of unique, high-quality and price-competitive brands to the UAE - making great yoga clothing accessible right here at home. We’ve chosen products that reflect the traditions, power and beauty of yoga, while providing comfort and functionality to enhance your practice on and off the mat.
We love that yApparel supports sustainable and eco-friendly products. How has this area grown/changed in the UAE since you started, particularly in activewear?
Sourcing ethical and sustainable activewear was part of our core focus from day 1, and we really feel we have been pioneers in exposing shoppers to a variety of brands that look great, feel great and are soft on the environment. We still believe the UAE has more work to do in promoting sustainability on all fronts, but we can already see customers becoming more curious and conscious about what's in their cart, and that's a step in the right direction.
Would you be able to give us some info on how some of your brands are eco-friendly?
We particularly look to work with brands who manufacture in country, who have ethical manufacturing standards, and who use materials that are good for the skin and the environment. Most of our brands like Dharma Bums. Divine Goddess and Varley are made on a cut-to-order basis, extinguishing the need for excess stock which leads to unnecessary waste in landfills. Some of brands like Dharma Bums and Tonic use sustainable materials like bamboo, Under the Same Sun's products are made from 86% recycled plastic, and Rumi Earth's yoga mats are made from natural rubber and are biodegradable
Aside from running yApparel, you are also a Jivamukti Yoga certified teacher. Tell us about your journey to discovering yoga and its benefits?
I actually came across yoga at the age of 15 and at first used it as a form of exercise. Now, yoga is much more of a spiritual practice and it has helped me overcome emotional obstacles. Aside from my physical transformation, yoga has also allowed me to become a much happier and light hearted person. I've become more confident in making decisions as mindfulness has allowed me to become more in tune with my intuition. It has also uplifted my life, self-esteem, and appreciation for the small things. I chose Jivamukti Yoga because it is an integrated method that serves as a path toward enlightenment through compassion for all beings. The teachers came back to the US after spending time in India and felt many elements of the practice had been stripped away in the west in favour of physical-only benefits, therefore each class includes chanting, scripture, and meditation. I can't imagine my life without it!
For anyone looking to start practising yoga, what would be your advice?
Just give it a try! Let go of any fears of not being flexible enough, because we all started somewhere. And remember all the incredible benefits you can experience over time - mental, physical and more. Because yoga is all about your own body weight, power and strength, it is possible to practice it at home - as long as you are aware of your level and start slow and work your way up over months (or years) to more advanced postures and practices. Videos are a great way for those who are perhaps busy or self-conscious to join a large group. I can say, however, that once the benefits are felt, it's hard to give up. You'll soon be in search of a teacher who can take you further on that journey.
What are your current favourite items from yApparel?
I am currently loving everything from our Varley collection, especially because their leggings have a fantastic fit and stretch. Electric and Rose's sunset leggings are also a hit! Their California-boho styles are addictive.
yApparel is now about 4 years old and offers 10 brands. Any new exciting projects or events we can look forward to?
We are expanding into many studios in Dubai, so customers can now shop our products in person in over 10 locations in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. We are also always looking out for new, unique and interesting brands to partner with, as well as local business to collaborate with. Watch this space and thanks for the support!