The first time I dressed myself with Aurora Sage silks, I remember the feeling of sensuality come upon me. The raw silks touching my neck, dyed with flowers and herbs from her own garden. The delicate silks are handmade by Stephanie Anavim, a local from Los Angeles who lives and breathes a conscious lifestyle. We had the pleasure to sit down with her and wrap ourselves in adornment with her gorgeous, elemental pieces.
Can you tell our readers what Aurora Silk is.
Aurora Sage is my silk scarf and clothing line that I hand dye using flowers, plants, roots, barks, herbs, spices and other natural dyes. Most of the flowers and plants I use come right from my Los Angeles home garden!
Where does your company’s graceful name stem from?
The name Aurora Sage was originally the name we had picked out for our second child, who ended up being a boy, so we chose a different name for him. Right after his birth, I had the inspiration to begin a line of naturally dyed silk clothing. I started experimenting and noticed how many of my designs looked like the Aurora Borealis (the northern lights). The plants I use in my creations are represented in the Sage part of the name. So the name Aurora Sage was born, not as a child, but as a beautiful business that feels very much like another child.
Tell us about your intention and process with every handmade piece?
The whole process is very intuitive. It is all very meditative as well. I practice Kundalini yoga and play mantras while I am working. I cleanse my space with palo santo or sage and keep everything high vibe in my surroundings. I feel like when I am using my energy and my hands in my work that it goes into what I am making. Kind of like when your mom makes a homemade meal and you can feel the love she put into it. It’s nourishing! I try and bring that same idea to my silks. I want my pieces to not only be beautiful, but healing and energetically pleasing as well. You will be wearing these pieces on your body and carrying that energy around with you. The intention really makes a difference!
What is the correlation between the plants you use for dyeing and for ingesting?
Most of the plants I use are suitable for ingesting, many are what would be considered medicinal, meaning a plant that could heal or cure sickness. It is common knowledge these days that our skin is our biggest organ, and what we apply to it we absorb into our bodies. So what about wearing medicinal plants on our bodies? I am convinced there has to be benefits to that, and I believe this knowledge will be the next wave of health news to come into the mainstream.
Using plant-based dyes and hand dyeing every piece is a slower process than the way clothing is dyed in the mainstream today. There are more steps and patience needed, but because the process is slower, there becomes a much more personal connection between me and the silks. There are different methods that produce different effects. Cooking the silk in a vat of color will produce a more solid colored look. Bundle dyeing is another method I often use, where you steam plants and flowers onto the silk, and it creates the most beautiful ethereal patterns. Using dye assists like citric acid and iron take it all to another level. It is a total creative and intuitive process, and every piece comes out completely unique.
I have a background in Nutrition, and when I was growing up and really until recent years, the correlation between what we eat and our health was not being discussed much. I was always considered a little “out there” when it came to my views on health especially in the midwest where I was raised. Now you can’t go anywhere without finding a juice or health food store. Even in Michigan where I am originally from, you can easily find a juice shop, just a few years ago it was unheard of. Where our clothing comes from and what it has been dyed with will soon become more of an interest to people, because if we are eating consciously, shouldn’t we take the same care in picking what is on our body as well? That’s without even going deeper into the energetic benefits of wearing flowers and plants, which takes the benefits to a whole other level.
Your pieces are so sensual and feminine. How did you come up with the silk, flower and plant synergy in your pieces? Also, what plants do you use in your color scheme and design?
When I was younger, I always begged my mom to let me wear one of her silk nighties. There was something about the feel of the silk, that even at 5 years old I tuned in to. It has been my favorite fabric ever since. As I’ve gotten older I’ve become a bit of a gardener. I love my hands in dirt, and caring for the plants and flowers. Something about the combination of my scorpio sun & virgo moon nature attracted me to the combination of silks & plants. It is very much who I am, sensual and earthy, and I think that my silks are definitely an extension of that.
I use a lot of roses, different species and colors, marigolds, daisies, bougainvillea, mums, carnations, hibiscus, dahlias, chamomile, mint, calendula, really any flower I find in my garden I often dye with. Leaves are fun to dye with as well, I have some purple plum trees that I love to use, eucalyptus leaves make the most gorgeous peachy bronze color, japanese maple, rose leaves are great too. I also dye with turmeric, sumac, safflower, beet extract, cochineal, indigo, amongst many others. I could go on and on! The options are endless, and I am always experimenting and learning new ways to utilize the flowers and plants.
What is your favorite piece you have made?
It is so hard to pick just one! I really sway back and forth between a few. One of my favorites is the Cosmic Night color. It is made with gall nut and iron which creates this super dark purplish blue. I dye it a certain way to create a very unique pattern, which I think just enhances the beauty of the color. Another I am always a fan of is my bundle dyed flower prints. Rose has always been my favorite flower (and scent!), and it is the highest vibrating of all flowers. When I wear silk dyed with roses I feel like I radiate divine love, not to mention feel like a Goddess!
How do you inspire women? In your opinion, why is it important to support woman-owned businesses?
I hope to inspire woman by being my true self, and standing in my full power. That is more than some cliched phrases, and for me it is something I’ve really had to work on. To feel like you have something to share with the world, and to have the confidence to put it all out there takes a lot, at least it did for me. But I see that when I am passionate about what I am doing, that it empowers others! It is safe to be, say, do, feel what is true for you. I think women, being the nurturer, can often find themselves bending to other peoples expectations at the expense of what they truly want, but its when we answer the call of our own soul that we really shine.
This is a pretty special time on the planet, I think we can all agree. There’s a lot of change happening, and women are standing up in their power as a collective. I do think it is so so important to support woman-owned businesses. I feel that in the past that many woman were not able to live out their business ideas, and who knows how many went to their graves without sharing what they had to offer with the world. We have the opportunity now not only to show what we’ve got, but to lift our sisters up so they can shine too! Competition is so over! Collaboration, inspiration, and supporting one another is where we are at NOW!
What practices do you exercise to keep your mindset clear for creating your pieces?
I practice Kundalini yoga daily. It clears my mind for sure, helps get rid of any blocks from past programming, crack opens my creativity big time, and gives me the nerve to be brave and do the things I came here to do.
Please share with us why it is essential to be environmentally sustainable?
I don’t think its a secret anymore that how we live effects the planet. We all need to be responsible and do the very best we can taking care of this beautiful planet. I have come to realize that one of the biggest ways you can positively impact the planet is by making good choices in how you spend your money. Choosing to shop somewhere that is conscious in how they make their products is like voting with your dollar. I mentioned it before but I really feel like fashion is going to get its time in the spotlight next. Awareness needs to be made. The fashion industry is one of the most toxic industries when it comes to polluting the planet, not to mention how it effects our bodies while wearing the toxic clothing. Oh, and the people who work in the factories and are subjected to the toxic material all day every day, it is beyond unhealthy! My husband also works in the fashion industry, and has for many years, so I have definitely seen the other end of the spectrum when it comes to the environmental impact of the industry. Not only are materials being used toxic, but the energy of the fashion industry is what I would call frenetic. So when you go to one of those big stores in the mall, you are buying a toxic, energetically stress filled piece of clothing and putting it on your body! Not great. I know right now, it might not be in everyones financial means to buy a more expensive consciously made piece of clothing, but those of us who can, should. Let’s help change the tide of fashion like we are doing for the food industry!
Photo credit: Julia Diane Photography