Teshani McManus is the founder of Luna + Sun, an ethical and sustainable clothing label born out of her passion for wanting to start her own label. create a positive impact and change in the fashion industry.
Teshani discovered she was pregnant shortly after launching Luna + Sun and despite a very challenging pregnancy and birth experience with her daughter Mya, it opened her eyes to what other women could be missing whilst going through a similar experience.
With all the love and support of the strong women around her, Teshani got through the difficult moments and has since made it her mission for Luna + Sun to be that rock to other women, regardless of where they are on in their journey through motherhood.
What was the main driver behind your founding Luna + Sun?
I’ve always wanted to start my own label, and the more I learned about the fast fashion industry’s negative impact on people, the environment, and animals, the more it pushed me to be part of the change in this industry. Creating a brand that puts people and the planet first became an absolute non-negotiable to me.
Being of South Asian background myself, and seeing the hardships and inequalities that (mainly) women face when working in the garment industry strikes close to my heart. This drove me to create a brand that was built on transparent and ethical values. One that empowered women – not just the women who wear Luna + Sun, but those who bring the clothes to life. There’s so much more I want to do in this area when we grow our business like directly working with women in disadvantaged communities and helping them earn a living wage and learn new skills making items for Luna + Sun.
Why do you think it’s so critical for women to feel and be supported before and after they become mothers?
From my experience, I found that I was told to prepare for my pregnancy and birth and I received a lot of advice and information when it came to this, especially from doctors. But I didn’t get this post-birth and this period is such a hard period for most women and the biggest change in most women’s lives which is why I believe it is so important to have support and feel supported.
I was lucky to have support from my husband, my mother, sister and friends but even then every day for the first 6 months was hard. Our bodies are recovering, we feel sleep deprived, we are learning how to breastfeed and also looking after a little person and not always having the time to look after ourselves.
Which is why it’s so important to have that support and help.
Why do you think that there is still a fundamental lack of awareness when it comes to sustainability in the fashion industry?
Unfortunately fast fashion is such a massive industry that continues to grow and big brands are very good at greenwashing. So I think more people are becoming aware of sustainable fashion but might be supporting big brands that they think are sustainable when in fact they aren’t.
I think there needs to be more transparency and accountability in the fashion industry and education when it comes to how to spot a fast fashion brand and greenwashing.
We know that the fashion industry is highly competitive and it can be hard to break into the industry, how was it like for you as a South Asian woman breaking into the scene?
That’s so true, unfortunately. It was incredibly competitive and I think it still is. But there are a lot of people that are great and after three years I’ve found a great group of women that are supportive and it’s always great to catch up with them for a coffee and share our ups and downs.
How do you think we should be educating our children about sustainable fashion so that they make well-informed decisions when they are older?
I think it’s so important to educate children that clothing isn’t a disposable item and that it’s so important to know where your clothes come from. Educating children on the effects of fast fashion on people and the environment is so important as the next generation want to create a better future and with more education they can be equipped to make changes that will have a huge impact in the future.
How does life look like for you outside of business?
I have another job and work 3 days in that role and then I look after my daughter on the other two days. On the days I’m with my daughter I try to spend this time doing fun things with her which I really love. I work on Luna + Sun when I can which is usually when my daughter has a nap or when she is asleep at night which can be challenging sometimes.
I’ll be taking long service leave from my other job in the new year (for three months) and I’m super excited about this as I will have more time with my daughter and two- three full days to work on the business which is something I haven’t had since starting the business. I’m excited to bring some new things to life for Luna + Sun during this time.
Is there a mantra that you live by in life and in business?
I have a few mantras that I live by. I think it’s so important when you’re a business owner and mother to remember you can’t do it all and some days it’s okay to let the to-do list wait. It’s also important to outsource or ask for help when you need to too to avoid burnout. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself and always celebrate all your small wins too.
Follow Teshani at Luna + Sun
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