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A Nagnata story created at home with Laura May for LVR magazine to celebrate our second collection launch with the incredible Italian concept store.

"Nagnata founder Laura May unravels the captivating narrative behind her brand's evolution, a testament to mindful design and conscious consumerism that's transforming the very fabric of fashion." - LVR

Step into the world of Nagnata, where fashion is more than just aesthetics; it’s a philosophy of authenticity, sustainability, and empowerment. Founded by the visionary Laura May, Nagnata pronounced /nug-nuh-taa/ in the traditional Sanskrit language, draws its name from the concept of ‘nakedness’—the purest state of being. This essence of honesty and self-discovery permeates every thread of Nagnata’s ethos. Laura’s journey started amidst a retreat in Mexico, where she put her fashion career on hold to immerse herself in the practice of yoga. Her travels then led her to India, where Nagnata’s roots took hold in artisanal craftsmanship and the innovative knitting techniques that define the brand today. Just as yoga unveils one’s authentic self, Nagnata’s essence lies in the gradual revelation of purity, seen in their commitment to sustainable fibers and a transparent, slow-fashion approach. Join us in exploring the heart of Nagnata as Laura May shares insights into the brand’s sustainable design philosophy, inclusivity initiatives, and the creative journey behind their latest collection, Movement 13, a symphony of art and function. Embark on a voyage of conscious creation and explore Nagnata’s universe, where ‘movements’ transcend seasons, and fashion becomes a catalyst for positive change.

Can you explain the meaning behind the name Nagnata and the inspiration behind starting the brand?

Nagnata, traditionally pronounced /nug-nuh-taa/, is derived from the classical Sanskrit language and alludes to ‘nakedness’, which is one’s most authentic state of being.

At the time of forming the brand, I was on a retreat in Mexico, taking time out from working in fashion to study yoga. I then traveled to India to begin our early bespoke artisanal work with handloom weaving and repurposing embroidered textiles while developing the technical knit blends now synonymous with Nagnata, which took two years to create the first fabric.

The idea of ‘nakedness’ also relates to the practice of yoga as a pathway intended to gradually reveal our most authentic version of self by moving through internal resistance.

This sense of purity and authenticity is woven through our Nagnata brand philosophy and ethos, from the purity of fiber working with natural, renewable, and organic yarns to our intention for transparency and commitment to positively cultivate and contribute to our community.

The first Movement 001 knitwear collection was designed for yoga, dance, and movement and informed the Nagnata studio-to-street uniform.

We’re interested in learning more about Nagnata’s approach to sustainable design and responsible production. Can you elaborate on the philosophy and methods you follow?

When founding Nagnata, I saw an opportunity to redefine industry values and challenge the rampant consumerism of fast fashion that was pervasive at the time. The original business plan was shaped around a ‘slow fashion’ blueprint and, in ways, applied to my practice of yogic disciplines – led by a focus on mindfulness with a considered approach to design and textile innovation.

Our founding philosophy of ‘sustainably minded design’ recognizes that making new fashion is not sustainable, but if we as an industry continue to make better choices, our impact on the environment will steadily decrease. An early focus of mine was textile innovation, applying advanced knitting technology to the properties of organic, natural, and renewable fibers to introduce new fabric concepts to yoga, dance, and streetwear.

At the time, ‘activewear’ was, and still is, primarily focused on using synthetic fibers for performance garments, and while this is an easier and more cost-effective option, it’s not good for the planet or for human health. We continue to explore new ways to integrate sustainable fibers and further reduce synthetics in Nagnata garments – because what you put on your skin matters. Skin is our largest organ, and dermal absorption means that chemicals from our clothing can enter our system.

Our brand mantra – “movements not seasons” – reflects our ongoing responsibility to avoid overproducing and support the slow fashion movement. It’s our own way of reclaiming a free speech approach to fast-changing seasonality. We encourage a culture of conscious consumerism by designing premium products that offer versatility and longevity and create trans-seasonal “movements” rather than the fast-paced, high-turnover traditional fashion model.

Each collection we produce is an evolution of the previous, and our garments are intended to be complementary, encouraging our customers to slowly build on their Nagnata uniform.

My sister Hannah joined Nagnata as my partner around the launch of Movement 001, and together we have evolved our sustainability roadmap as the brand has grown. We work with sustainability and environmental consultants who audit our business yearly, and we have initiatives around minimizing waste, water usage, and upcycling offcuts alongside strict supplier certifications.

We are proud to announce Nagnata is the first Australian fashion brand to become a certified Toitū Climate Positive business. This means we offset more GHG emissions than we emit and have been recognized for our philanthropic efforts alongside our work in environmentalism.

As a brand that values inclusivity, can you explain how Nagnata prioritizes this?

We believe representation matters both behind the scenes in the business and out front in campaigns, shoots, fashion shows, and on social media. We hope to speak to a diverse community of people around the world, and to do that, people need to see themselves represented in the brand.

While we launched with womenswear, we soon created our genderless SAMA line in 2020.
Nagnata SAMA styles are fluid and not tied to gender identities; they are staples of the Nagnata uniform and designed to share. Our hope is to empower and create more freedom of expression for each other through fashion and conversation on our brand platform.

In 2021, we also began drafting our official Reconciliation Action Plan as a business and completed our stage 1 Reflect this year. This involves working alongside our First Nations people and taking meaningful action through projects that give back to the community. By celebrating the traditional crafts and learning from the deep wisdom of Aboriginal culture, we can work towards providing economic opportunity and empowerment through creative collaboration.

Can you take us through the process of developing your latest collection, Movement 13?

Fabric innovation is always at the heart of our process, and for Movement 13, we are excited to introduce our first outerwear line with custom check wool weaves we developed using 50% Merino wool with 50% recycled nylon yarns.

The seamless CORE line features our new ‘Yang’ styles in elemental hues of lavender, chartreuse, henna, and cedar, complemented by an all-black colorway, now all RWS Merino Wool certified. This signature circular knit fabric provides the perfect balance of stretch and support with an ultra-luxurious second-skin hand feel.

We were engaged in a study of contrast with asymmetrical necklines and unexpected cutouts that alternate between form-fitting and sculptural silhouettes in our movement and SAMA lines.

Our fresh take on fashion meets functional knitwear is expressed in the ‘Lava’ intarsia vest and cardigan with hand-drawn abstract artwork by Hannah, inspired by Australian landscapes and knitted using RWS Merino Wool.

Which pieces from the new collection are your personal favorites, and how would you style them?

I have been living in the new organic cotton knitted Snap-Side Track Pants! I wear them with everything from our Merino seamless crop tops and fine organic cotton knit tees with sneakers or sandals to my Prada slingbacks and new knitted Yang Tube Top for an evening look.

I also love our Wool Check Outerwear pieces, the bomber and vest styled back with denim.

Looking ahead, what are your aspirations for the future of Nagnata?

We would like to open more Nagnata stores around the world so we are able to connect more intimately with our global community. And continue to work on our Climate Positive roadmap to contribute to positive change in the fashion industry.

Thank you to team LVR, it's truly an honour to have our brand represented in your store.

Photographer: Trevor King

Beauty: Phoebe Fever

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