Keeping up with Bryna Chrismas, founder of Ran By Nature.
Inclusivity is in the founder of Ran By Nature, Bryna Chrismas’, nature.

Inclusivity is in the founder of Ran By Nature, Bryna Chrismas’, nature.

Written by Jasmine Mayhead.

Inclusivity is in the founder of Ran By Nature, Bryna Chrismas’, nature.

Ethical athleisure company Ran By Nature’s founder Bryna Chrismas is completely committed to her cause. As an Associate Professor in Exercise Science, Bryna has spent the last ten years researching how to use movement to improve health and performance, particularly for underrepresented groups. From here, Ran By Nature was born. Can you see why we wanted to chat with her?

What made you Ran By Nature

I am an Associate Professor in Exercise Science, and have spent the last decade researching ways to improve health and performance through movement. Particularly focusing on underrepresented groups. Personally, I have also competed for Great Britain as a race-walker, and now I spend my time ‘running for a cause’, as well as enjoying padel, yoga and strength workouts. Through these personal and professional experiences, I became very aware of the environmental impact of exercise (from the clothing, and shoes, to the facilities and outdoor events). As well as the barriers and challenges that underrepresented groups face to access and feel safe and welcomed within exercise and fitness spaces. Whether you find fitness trends inspiring or tiring they are hard to ignore. From fitspiration, to the ‘never miss a workout’ narrative, fashion brands and the fitness industry have a responsibility to be more sustainable and inclusive. So I wanted to create athleisure clothing that actually helps every body workout, and feel good while doing it. And go beyond just clothing, but create a circular community that gives to others (via 10% of profits being donated to different charities), and the planet (via positive carbon initiatives), that is actively campaigning for change. Ran by is also an anagram of my first name (Bryna).

Inclusivity is in the founder of Ran By Nature, Bryna Chrismas’, nature.
Ran By Nature

Do you have a morning routine? If so what is it you do to set yourself up for the day ahead? 

Yes. I actually have a few variations of a morning routine, depending on my daily plans. I start by going in to see my two cats Luna and Myrtle. They are always so happy to see me in the morning (most likely as they know I will feed them). But this instantly makes me smile and feel relaxed. While I am feeding them I will make my coffee. I enjoy choosing different ethically sourced coffee beans, and will either use my aeropress or moka pot to make the coffee, which I always have with frothy oat milk. While I am waiting for my coffee I will think of one or two things I am grateful for. And I may also add in a daily affirmation or positive thought for the day. Next is some form of movement. Yoga or strength based, with some happy feel good music. Then a shower and breakfast. Which is either overnight oats, or toast with avocado and sauerkraut. I will vary the length/order of this routine depending on my daily plans.

What’s the biggest barrier you’ve found to succeeding as a socially conscious business? 

When we think of being a successful business we are often talking about profit, because without sufficient capital or finances then business failure is imminent. Which is why most brands put profit over people. As an ethical and socially conscious brand, not only do I donate 10% of my profits to various charities. But I also promote mindful and conscious shopping, and everything from the fabric to the production and packaging is sustainable and ethical, which of course leads to higher cost prices, and ultimately higher retail prices (compared to fast fashion brands who have low cost and retail prices, even for their ‘sustainable’ range). Competing against this greenwashing and fast fashion consumerist culture is challenging. My values as a conscious brand are more important than going viral or using marketing tactics that promote waste and throwaway culture. So I focus on creating small positive changes everyday.

Within the ethical fashion community, there’s a big question that we ask which is ‘who made my clothes?’. In the scope of Ran By Nature, who made the things you sell? Can you tell us a bit about them? 

I would love to tell you about them. Amy Fettis is the owner of Studio 54, a small batch sampling studio in Jesmond, Newcastle (UK). She project manages my brand, and the team at Studio 54. Alina is my main seamstress, and she has worked their for years. I also have Kim who helps with CADs and patterns. And Matty was making the zero waste scrunchies, he has just left for a designing job. Amy also has a couple of students studying at the local University who come to gain hands on experience. The building of Studio 54 is a safe and welcoming space for health and wellness as well. It offers classes such as yoga and boxing. I also have excellent relationships with all my suppliers, and I ensure they adhere to my code of conduct and sustainability policy.

Inclusivity is in the founder of Ran By Nature, Bryna Chrismas’, nature.

Why did you pick the fabrics you have chosen to work with? 

Athleisure clothing can be worn for a relaxing yoga session, sweaty HIIT workout, or for a cosy chat and coffee date with a friend. Therefore, the fabrics need to be able to adapt to and meet the demands of all these activities. Qualities such as fit, function, breathability, comfort, support and sweat wicking are all essential. Additionally, to support outdoor workouts, and aqua sports it was important that the fabric was UPF + 50 rated. Traditionally, polyester is the main fabric of choice for athleisure or activewear. But as we know, polyester is one of the worst polluters in fashion. Virgin polyester is made from plastic, which of course comes from fossil fuels. Not only is the production extremely damaging to the planet, but when washed, microplastics are released, which end up in our oceans. Natural fabrics such as bamboo, and lyocell can be used as alternatives. But there can be sustainability issues with how these are sourced (e.g. chopping down trees and removing important animal habitats) and treated (e.g. chemical v mechanical). They are very soft and comfortable, and we will be using them for some future products. But for the more performance based products, we needed something more durable, long-lasting, and hard-wearing. Which is why we have used recycled polyester. Specifically ECONYL from a sustainable supplier. We chose this supplier based on their sustainability polices, safe working conditions, ethical practices, and certifications. It is important to note that when washing our products made with rPET that a microfiber filter or bag should be used to catch the microplastics.

Best piece of advice you have ever received? 

I feel like different pieces of advice have been beneficial to me at different stages of my life. But if I had to pick it would be ‘live life greatly’. Because this statement you can carry with you through life. And it allows you to adapt and change as you go through life. It can also be applied to everyone. As we are all unique and what I believe to be a great life, will be different to you

What’s next for you and Ran By Nature? 

My dream is for Ran By Nature to become a B Corp, so we can put all of our profits back into charities and initiatives that focus on getting underrepresented groups into sports and activity. Maybe that’s funding a disabled person to become a personal trainer, or helping to sponsor a BAME/BIPOC swimming club. For now, I’m happy to create sustainable clothing that gives you the confidence to go into the outdoors and get active. And to be the change I want to see, in terms of sustainable and mindful fashion and fitness

One book and documentary everyone should read/watch? Why? 

Brene Brown – Call to Courage on Netflix. It’s just so powerful and inspiring. And for a book, this is hard for me as I love to read. I think I will have to say Eckhart Tolle ‘A New Earth‘. This reframed my thinking, and has helped me focus on living in the present moment

Are there any other Movers & Shakers out there in your world that you think people should know about? 

So many, which is wonderful to see. I am fortunate enough to have spoken to many of them on my Ran By Nature podcast. There’s the Black Trail runners, Active Inclusion, The Wanderlust Women, Queer Runnings, Limb Power, Sophie Butler, Millie Pickles, Tally Rye, Hannah Lewin, The Phit Coach, Paraclimbing London, All the Elements, Run the World Qatar, Free to Run, Black Girls Do Run UK, and Run Talk Run are just a few

Ran By Nature
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