The Ancestry Collection: Pantheia

The Ancestry Collection: Pantheia (“of all spirits”)

I recently learned about a new company named, Pantheia, and once again, I was moved by the story of sustainable fashion production. It comes from the island of Bali and was the inspiration of a designer named Alisa Kreynes …

In 2007, Alisa moved to East Timor from New York City for work. Bali became her escape; it was just a short flight away from the pressures of Timor. Just three years later, in 2010, Alisa had moved to Bali permanently, and started designing jewelry, bags and accessories. According to Alisa, designer and founder of Pantheia: “I was, and still am, enchanted with the Bali and wanted to incorporate some of its magic into my pieces. The concept behind Pantheia designs is simplicity and unity. Unity of different cultures, histories, traditions and beliefs as well as unity with nature and its elements.”

Scott Russell, Director of Marketing for Pantheia, shared more with me about the purpose and intention of this extraordinary company …

Pantheia was born in 2010 and expanded internationally in late 2011. The philosophy and values are centered around making unique and quality jewelry, clothing, bags and accessories, using the skills and techniques of Balinese artisans and craftsmen.

By utilizing local artisans to produce our products and traditional, responsible production techniques, the manufacture of our products helps support local communities in Bali.  Each item is made with special attention to detail and pride, and is infused with the ancient essence of Balinese culture. For example, we produce unique knitwear made from spun bamboo thread (rayon from bamboo), and our signature Banana Leaf Boxes are fashioned in a small village in Singaraja where natural banana leaves are dried, cleaned, and folded by hand.
A few days ago, we launched our newest collection called Ancestry. Not only is the collection beautiful, but it is also linked to one of our philanthropic initiatives, something that is close to our hearts at Pantheia. We have decided to donate 15% of the profits from Ancestry to the Sacred Childhoods Foundation. These donations are used by the Sacred Childhoods Foundation in Indonesia to provide instructors, tools, and materials to teach marketable skills, including knitting and crocheting to women who have had no other option than to beg for money on the streets of Bali. The Sacred Childhoods Foundation focuses on improving the lives of children, and adapting its programs to the changing needs of its beneficiaries, as well as developing sustainable long-term reductions in poverty as opposed to fostering aid-dependency.”  Scott Russell
What Alisa and Scott and the Pantheia team has accomplished is heartwarming and commendable. As Alisa says, “Real beauty doesn’t emerge from a fleeting trend. It sits inside each one of us waiting to be discovered.”
I couldn’t agree more. What do you think?
Pantheia production facilities

Pantheia jewelry production

The Banana Box

Pantheia resin jewelry production

The Banana Box

The signature Pantheia banana leaf box

More sustainable fashion news …

Chris Yura, Founder and CEO of SustainUPhoto courtesy of SustainU

Chris Yura, Founder and CEO of SustainU
Photo courtesy of SustainU

Here is a fashion story with heart: Notre Dame football star and graduate becomes the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of a company that produces American-made, 100% recycled t-shirts. Chris Yura says that he “always felt called to think of ideas” and that the Notre Dame community encouraged him. He was speaking to Joan and Liz Hamburg on WOR Radio/NYC. Every Monday, Joan’s daughter, Liz, an entrepreneur herself, hosts a segment called Launchpad, where entrepreneurs discuss their ‘big ideas’ and business ventures.

Mr. Yura’s story fascinates me. After graduating from college, he was scouted to become a fashion model, and moved to New York City where he worked for Ford Models for five years. It was during that time that he started to understand how clothing is made and says that it was this information from “my years in fashion” that sparked his desire to create sustainable, American-made clothing. He researched the process and materials extensively, and eventually, his company, SustainU, was born.

Mr. Yura says that his clothing is not only good for the planet, but good for workers and for consumers. His tees are affordable and sell for approximately $20 retail. He also contends that if he stays true to his business model; that everything must be made in America, that all clothing must be made from 100% recycled materials (not simply partially-recycled materials), and that he manufacture in places where people need the work, SustainU will stay successful, even when up against its competitors. Anyone can order on-line at, and in 2013 SustainU plans to be in NYC area retailers and throughout the United States. They are also planning to produce other types of clothing, including fleece and performance and children’s wear.

As a football player, Mr. Yura understood the importance of depending on his teammates. Similarly, he relies on his teammates at SustainU; they are a young and agile company and always open to new ways of manufacturing. “I’m at the tip of the iceberg now … I am starting to see what’s possible.” ~ Chris Yura

Good for you  – good for us! And thank you to NYC treasures Joan and Liz Hamburg for bringing Chris Yura’s story to our attention.

What do you think?


“Dare To Go There”
Nicole Kidman, Harper’s Bazaar November 2012

It happened: We lost power during the forces of Hurricane Sandy. Without power, there is little to do. As soon as the darkness gave way to a somewhat lighter morning and I first checked to see that my family was alright and my house was in working order, I opened the November issue of Harper’s Bazaar that my friend Jean lent me, and I began to read. And read. And read!

Here are some interesting fashion tidbits:

– Bottega Veneta is going vegan exploring new mediums with a line of eco-friendly handbags (more news on creating sustainable fashion)

– Shop introduces its online store for shopping made easy (more news on solving your problem and shopping online)

– The What’s In/What’s Out List (In: white. Out: neon clutches, tribal beads, go-go platforms, oversize totes, deconstructed bags, multi-finger rings, door-knocker earrings and moccasins.) So much more Out than In!

– Julia Reed writes about Fashion Politics and America’s first ladies of style.Their passion for fashion has had little to do with party lines.

– The News highlights Women who Dare. Harper’s Bazaar asks some influential women to share their stories of how they moved beyond personal fear to take on the most daring and risky feats of their lives. Says Katie Couric, “If you don’t take chances, you’ll never really live.” Inspiring!

– Cover girl Nicole Kidman reflects on her life, including her fashion choices for the red carpet. “I make sure to wear comfortable dresses … because I want to be able to go out afterward and, you know, bend.”

And then there were the usual finds in every Harper’s Bazaar; beautifully crafted pages, Fabulous at Every Age (20s – 70s),Your Horoscope, etc.

All in all, it was a lovely trip that carried me away from the anxious moments surrounding the storm. Thank you for being with me.

Creating sustainable fashion

Stella McCartney’s Mock Croc Lauren Pump – faux-leather pumps with partly-biodegradable rubber soles

Fast fashion is a term that describes the disposable, see-it-once-and-replace-it world of contemporary, very moderately priced fashion. H&M and Forever 21 are fast fashion stores. A positive alternative for younger consumers who want to experiment with fashion and not invest in haute couture prices; but unfortunately, fast fashion comes with a price of its own. We as an American society are buying and discarding more than ever at a time when our planet needs us to recycle and reuse. We need to think more in terms of sustainable fashion.

Fortunately, there is a growing albeit slow moving attempt to recycle fashion, and some well-known designers are catching on. Stella McCartney, who has always been conscience of the fabrics she uses (she refuses to use fur or leather), revealed a new platform pump this September that is a mix of faux leather and partly biodegradable rubber soles. (I wear these in my dreams, by the way; I could never afford them nor could I walk in them, but I completely love them!). Stella admits to “having a huge admiration for my mom. I think that I’m keeping alive some of the things she believed in and elaborating on that.” (Her mom, Linda McCartney, who was a health advocate, animal rights activist and vegetarian, passed away in 1998.).

Sustainable fashion is also making news in smaller, grass roots stories. A new book called Fashion and Sustainability: Design for Change examines the potential for the fashion system to transform itself to a more sustainable industry. One of the individuals highlighted in the book, Michael Swaine of San Francisco, is doing his part to reuse fashion in his own local community. San Francisco writer Darby Minow Smith interviewed Mr. Swaine about his on-going project, called The Free Mending Library. This project is about people both bringing clothing items to mend and those who come to help do the mending. Supportive and sustainable.

These are inspiring stories. They have forced me to stop and think about how I am contributing to the waste stream and what I can do about it.

What do you think?