Like most great business ideas, Svaha started as a solution to a problem. The STEM-themed genderless clothing company was born after Jaya Iyer, a professional in the apparel industry, went shopping for her daughter, who dreamed of becoming an astronaut and loved wearing pink. You can guess the rest: Iyer realized that finding any science-, space-, or technology-themed clothing not marketed specifically toward boys was nearly impossible.
Thinking there might be other kids and parents looking for clothes that weren’t gender stereotyped, Iyer started a Kickstarter campaign. It was a success, and Svaha, named for her daughter, was created. Her latest line for Svaha is called Dinos in Space and is a collaboration with retired NASA astronaut and artist Karen Nyberg. (You can find it on svaha.com.) It was inspired by Nyberg’s time in space—while she was there for nearly six months in 2013, her son was obsessed with dinosaurs. She made him a stuffed dino that now serves as a model for the designs.
“I’ve wanted to be an astronaut since I was little,” Nyberg says. “I don’t remember wishing I could have space-themed shirts and that sort of thing, but if it existed, I think I would have fallen in love with it. I just never saw them, so I never had the opportunity to get interested in them. So I think to see STEM fields in a fun way is really helpful to get kids interested.”
For Iyer, it was a collaboration that worked on many levels. “I started my company because my daughter wanted to grow up to be an astronaut and I wanted to satisfy her needs of wanting to wear pink clothing with astronauts on them,” Iyer says. “Working with Karen was like going full circle.”
In addition to children, adults with an interest in science can also find things to suit their needs. The adult clothing starts at size XS and goes to 5X, and there is no price variation based on size. It’s also genderless in the labeling, meaning there is no “girls” or “boys” departments found here. “People are welcome to wear whatever they choose,” Iyer says. “Shouldn’t this always be? Who is to decide what one should or should not wear?”
Iyer continues, “The mission for this collection is to show that women can be whatever they want to be—an astronaut, an artist, or both. I was lucky to have been raised by parents who never really stopped me from wanting to be whatever I wished for. I am glad to be able to do this for my daughter. My daughter has to never think that she cannot be someone because she is a girl. All girls—and boys—need to know that their gender cannot define their love for a profession. We sincerely hope to see that the gender bias that exists in clothing designs and color or choice of professions based on gender just goes away. It absolutely should not exist. That is the whole point of this collection.”
To learn more about Svaha and the Dinos in Space line, visit svahausa.com.