Wolven isn’t your average activewear brand. They produce modern, functional clothing infused with a traditional, Eastern-style aesthetic that evokes a sense of spirituality. The company is also strongly committed to environmental conservation and sustainability. We spoke with founder Kiran Jade about building diverse communities, individuality and the power of giving back.
I’m joined today by Kiran Jade, the founder of Wolven. Let’s start with the basics. Wolven is an activewear and athleisure company focused on sustainability, diversity and body positivity. What was your motivation to start a company focused on these values?
I founded Wolven to bring that Eastern aesthetic to Western activewear.
Kiran: Growing up with Hindu and Muslim parents, inclusivity and South Asian culture have always been deeply engrained in me. I spent my summers traveling to Pakistan where I fell in love with geometric, colorful patterns and textiles. I would spend the weekends going to textile markets with my family and sewing my own clothes. I love the way unique clothing and prints can help express your values and individuality.
I founded Wolven to bring that Eastern aesthetic to Western activewear. I’ve witnessed firsthand the unethical conditions and waste the fashion industry creates and wanted to create a brand that is extremely mindful of its impact on the planet, while also creating a vibrant, diverse community and celebrating people’s differences.
How do you ensure you are beholden to those important, core values, whilst making sure you retain that Eastern-style visual identity? How do you solve for that? Can you speak more about the creative process and what goes into producing your unique, stylish & functional designs?
I see problem solving at the core of our garment designs — our goal is always to create products that allow you to do more with less. I love coming up with innovative, multipurpose designs, like our Reversible Four-Way Tops.
Does the use of sustainable materials have an impact on how you make your clothing or its durability?
All of our clothing is made from 84% recycled PET (rPET), a fabric that is created by taking BPA-free plastic water bottles, breaking them down, and weaving them into fabric. By using rPET we are reducing plastic in our landfills and ocean, while creating durable clothing that’s made to last. Making durable long lasting clothing is another way we can reduce our impact on the environment.
It’s clear that being eco-friendly is hugely important for Wolven. Can you speak to some of your sustainability initiatives?
Our goal is to create a second life for plastics that might otherwise end up in the ocean or in landfills.
From using recycled fabrics and packaging to our wind-powered office and carbon offset initiatives, we choose sustainability at every step. One of the initiatives we are most proud of is our partnership with 1% for the Planet, through which we donate 1% of our annual revenue to environmental nonprofit organizations. For example, last year we supported groups such as the California Wilderness Coalition, Women’s Earth Alliance, and the Indigenous Environmental Network.
We are also passionate about protecting our ocean. The ocean occupies over 90% of our planet, is home to some of the most biodiverse ecosystems on Earth, and even helps regulate climate change. Unfortunately, our ocean and marine life are threatened by the impacts of our society, especially plastics. Our goal is to create a second life for plastics that might otherwise end up in the ocean or in landfills. That’s why for every order we remove 1 pound of trash from the ocean.
It’s great to see a company so invested in giving back to the planet and important social causes. At an individual level, what advice would you give to people who are looking to lead a more sustainable lifestyle?
Perfection isn’t the answer. Try taking small steps to be more sustainable and find the ones you are most consistent with. When it comes to sustainable fashion, the most sustainable option is the clothing you will love the longest and wear the most — start by simply being mindful of your consumption and try to support small, BIPOC businesses.
Speaking of businesses, through the continued success and growth of Wolven you’ve established yourself as a successful entrepreneur. What has been your biggest influence?
My dad is my biggest influence. He founded his first business in the basement of our family’s townhouse and built it into an international, publicly held company. He is proof that unique ideas, grit and determination can allow for big ideas to come to life. He has also shown me ways to remain calm when things are stressful and aren’t going your way. He taught my brother and I how to meditate growing up and told us everyday that our first job each day was to be happy.
Very wise words. So, what do you love most about the work you do?
Ultimately, Wolven is much more than just a product, it’s about our community — our Wolfpack is made up of artists, activists, yogis, fashion enthusiasts, and so many others who value fashion as expression, while also protecting the planet. What I love most is being able to work alongside people who truly believe in our mission and watch our community grow.
We’ve spoken at length about the history of the company and the amazing work you do. But what’s on the horizon for Wolven?
We won’t share too many secrets, but we are excited to be growing our team and extending our sustainability mission beyond just the products we are making now — if you love Wolven’s prints and clothing, you’ll love what’s coming next.
Earlier we spoke about sustainability and giving back. One question I love asking founders is how they’d go about addressing the myriad challenges we face today, at either a individual or collective level. In your own words, what’s a modern remedy for these issues?
Thinking globally, acting locally. To combat big problems such as climate change, plastic pollution, racism, and inequality – the solutions need to involve coming together with our own communities and making changes, no matter how big or small. Community is everything.
Before we wrap up, is there anything you’d like to showcase to our audience?
If you are interested in joining our community, sign up to be a Wolven Ambassador. To learn more about our sustainability initiatives, check out our 2022 Sustainability Report. Don’t forget to tag us @wolven, we can’t wait to see you loving your Wolven pieces.
How can people learn more about Wolven? Where can people find you?
Thank you for your time today, it was a pleasure speaking with you and learning more about Wolven and the ethics behind the brand. ■
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