We sat down with Mariah Lyons, designer and creative mind behind the sustainable footwear brand, ASTARA. We think she’s onto something when it comes to making fashion more sustainable and her shoes are a perfect example of how to connect health and wellness with fashion!
Tell us about Astara.
ASTARA is the first sustainable luxury grounding footwear line. Each shoe has a proprietary technology embedded within the sole that resonates at 7.83hz which is called the Schumann Resonance and is the same frequency as that of the Earth. This frequency has been shown to promote harmony + balance within the body as well as protect against electromagnetic radiation. Each ASTARA shoe also works with the science of crystalline technology and has a different gemstone handwoven on each style. The shoes are locally handcrafted in Downtown LA and designed in Venice. I had been looking for years for a grounding shoe that I actually wanted to wear, and was unable to find one, this shoe has been several years in the making. My background before healing + wellness was in fashion, most recently at Jimmy Choo, and it has been really inspiring to see my worlds colliding with this brand.
How were you first introduced to the healing power of crystals?
Holistic healing and specifically crystals have been in my life for a very long time. I grew up in the Wasatch mountains in Utah, literally with the mountain as my backyard. When I was younger we used to go to and collect geodes with my Dad and open them up, I was always amazed at the gorgeous crystals inside these seemingly mundane rocks. Ive always been highly sensitive, and my mom used to gift me “worry stones” that were healing crystals with a groove carved out to rub when you worried or stressed or overwhelmed. When my aunt, whom I was very close with, was diagnosed with breast cancer, she made healing bracelets for the family with amethyst and emerald stones. I have all of these memories of stones throughout growing up.
When I look back there hasn’t been a time in my life when crystals weren’t around, but it wasn’t necessarily intentional, it just was what it was. I like to think they’ve just always been with me, and now I get to work with them and spread their healing in a new way, which is really fulfilling.
How long did it take you to start seeing or feeling the benefits of the crystals? Was it immediate or did it take some time?
It wasn’t really until I was training intensely with my first meditation teacher about 10+ years ago that I begin to harness and deeply understand the power and magnitude of crystalline energy. Crystalline energy works on a somewhat subtle vibration, meaning the more sensitive and still you allow yourself to become, the more you can tune into and feel their vibrations and information.
Crystals store and emit frequency and information. They hold onto vibrational data that has been stored in the Earth. Although there are families of groupings, much like the animal kingdom and plant kingdom has, each stone is unique in itself. Just like plants have different medicinal qualities and personalities, stones hold the same varying qualities and attributes. Certain stones range on the “heavier” or more grounding side of the spectrum, while others are a finer or higher frequency. Much like musical tones. We then work with different stones according to what is needed at that moment to help assist balance the body, mind and spirit.
With clients, many can feel sensations within their body right away, with others it becomes a relationship that deepens over time. Crystals meet you where you are, which is one of the beautiful things about working with these tools.
How has living in health and wellness central, Los Angeles, influenced your creative process?
I had been trying to find a manufacturer for almost a year, and when I sat down and met with my (current) manufacturer and told him about my vision and collection, he gave me a funny look. I thought he was looking at me like I was nutty, and then he pulled out a stone from his pocket and told me helps him stay protected and grounded. I had to laugh because, it’s all part of the journey and when we get out of our own way, it unfolds in more beautiful ways than we can imagine.
LA is home to so many creatives here pushing the envelope in a multitude of ways, and incredible leaders in sustainability and tech. There is a sense of play and openness that I think really helps the creative process.
Other than in your footwear, how do you use crystals in other parts of your life?
Crystals are very much a part of my daily rituals as well as my mundane life, just as fresh organic food, meditation and exercise are. I set up crystal grids around my house when working with specific intentions, I make herbal medicines and include crystal essences with them, I bathe with crystals, oftentimes sleep with crystals under my pillow or mattress. My physical house is gridded with specific crystals as well. They are all over, my husband’s pretty used to it at this point.
What are your hopes for the future of footwear? More emphasis on comfort? More sustainable practices?
My hopes for the future of footwear is truly an emphasis on more sustainable practices. The fashion industry is the 2nd most polluting industry, next to oil, and oftentimes we don’t think about what impact that $50 pair of fast fashion shoes has on the Earth and the environment. ASTARA is built on sustainable practices and an emphasis of reconnection with the Earth.
I would love to see consumers and retailers begin to consider the small differences that they can make. From where we manufacture our shoes, to the materials, to shipping/returns and of course packaging. Every decision Ive made with this line has been highly conscious, down to the packaging. All of our packaging is 100% compostable and that was important to me. We take so much from the Earth as is, that I couldn’t make a product that produced more waste than it gave back.
For someone who is new to using crystals, where is the best place to start?
I started my line with 3 specific stones + styles. I wanted my customer to really work with those stones and begin to have a deeper understanding of their properties and capabilities before introducing more. Each stone is very different and great entry level stones and they truly speak to different people at different times.
Rose quartz is a beautiful stone for crystal beginners as it holds a vibration of beauty, compassion and universal love. Clear quartz is a Master Healer stone that perfectly balances the body and acts as a magnifier of intentions. Black onyx or black tourmaline are my favorite for people that travel frequently or live in major cities, as they are grounding to the body and nervous system and help protect against emfs. All 3 of these stones are part of my permanent classic collection.
Working with crystals is intuitive. And everyone has intuition. If you are completely new to crystals, I advise walking into a store that sells gemstones, try not to look at what any of the descriptions are, and just go to the first or second one that really calls out and grabs your attention. Chances are, after you read the description, it’s exactly the one that is perfect for what you are transiting through at that time. Oftentimes we don’t choose the stone, the stone chooses us. Just have fun and let yourself play. The more you work with them, in meditation and intention setting, the more magic and fun begins to unfold. It gets really good.