June 2

Stay and play.

This is an invitation I wish someone would make me. Is there a more gorgeous way to while away an afternoon?
Thankfully, yogini and all-time goddess Sari Shillingford has made it a way of life. Seeking her inner zen to be reflected in her clothes, she created the Stay and Play range – a conscious lifestyle label that is fast gaining a reputation for its classic, simple, graceful and timeless lines.

Made in Australia, her chic and loved up garments use only the finest fabrics. Explaining her ethos she says –

 “Meditation, yoga and other mindfulness-based practices are tools that help us dive into the here and now. Stay and Play was inspired by the love and joy that comes from this deep presence.”
Always craving to get the person behind the story, I chatted with Sari about her style inspirations, business tips and the secrets to her enviable glow.

What were you doing in a past life prior to starting your label?

I was signed as a model by Chadwicks at a young age, which means I spent most of my twenties travelling. Of course, it also introduced me to the creative world of fashion. A few years after starting as a model I designed my first fashion label from my mother’s island home in Bali. I have always been a free spirited kind of girl, though. Growing up I spent most of my spare time riding my horses…

How did Stay and Play come about?

I grew up on the beach, I meditate daily, am a yoga devotee and a qualified pilates instructor.  So, Stay and Play came about because I wanted to create a quality lifestyle label for this fusion.  It’s a harmony between subtle femininity and relaxed elegance, which is how I view my life.

The line features mainly yoga apparel right now, but it’s my intention to grow it into a conscious lifestyle line. The possibilities are endless and I can’t wait to see where this creative journey will flow.

Can you tell me about the name?

Interestingly, the meaning of our company name is taken from the body’s natural ‘stay and play’ response mode that brings us peace and tranquility and is brought about by practices like meditation, mindfulness and harmony with nature.  It’s the opposite of the body’s stress response ‘fight or flight’, which comes about when we are out of balance and fearful of what the future may bring us.

How come you choose Australia to manufacture, instead of off-shore?

Stay and Play started in Australia and it made sense to utilise local ethical supply chains. We are now spending a lot of our time in LA and so will soon manufacture products for the American market here in the US.

What is your favourite piece in the collection and why?

I love our FADE INTO ME long leggings. They sell very well! We spent over 2 years creating our quality bespoke fabric and our customers often comment how good it feels against their skin and how comfortable it is to practice in.  They also have an elegant look to them, meaning that you can rock the pants from the studio into your daily play with ease.

Who is the ideal Stay and Play muse and why? Which celeb would you love to wear your clothes?

Jessica Alba and Gisele Bundchen are inspiring business women, mothers and lovers of Play and the planet.  Em Rata & Lily Aldridge are also fun and elegant girls that ooze femininity.

What have you learned from your business journey so far?

Every day we are learning on a lot of levels, but one of the biggest lessons is to work with people whom inspire you and share the same values.

My fiancé is a Global Product Manager at Google. We have a shared love and joy for meditation, yoga and the beach, so we set up Stay and Play to work our passion together. We also want to bring more happiness to the world.  Through our Play Projects, the causes we believe and actively invest our profits into, have thankfully become a reality.

Your commitment to wellness is inspiring – how did you make yoga and meditation stick?

My mum is a huge influence on me, she is the most eminent and respected female spiritual teacher in Bali.

I welcomed yoga into my life to accompany my pilates training about 10 years ago. I really enjoy a good stretch, and both practices allow me to do that, with the added benefit of nourishing my mind too.

Meditation is an addictive tool once learnt, creating a feeling of space and stillness. It helps that my fiancé and I both practice so we have the luxury of attending meditation retreats together throughout the year. We have a lot to thank for it as we have met some of our closest friends through the practice!

One of my favorite quotes sums me up –

‘Close your eyes, fall in love, stay there’ RUMI

What are some of the biggest differences you have noticed personally from maintaining your practice?

Along with space and stillness, meditation gives me stability, inner peace and a path to true happiness.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

I am really enjoying things as they are right now, life could not get any more exciting!  We have plans to bring yoga and meditation to children – and I also hope to have a few kiddies of my own someday soon…

Where do you draw most of your inspiration from?

Life. My journey on this planet. Every day is a trip, an experience, a dream.  My daily meditations create the space for me to be creative, while my surroundings and adventures create the story. Music also gets me in a lovely head space. I love a good tune and a little boogie!

How do you get party- ready after a long day?

A long hot bath, some alone time to reboot the mind, a meditation, a pretty frock, a pair of killer heels and a smile 🙂

Tell me about your favourite spots in LA…

That’s easy! We’ve only been here for six months, but so many amazing spots are already emerging. For breakfast and coffee, I love Gjusta (Venice), Cafe Mimosa (Topanga), Gordon Ramsay at the London (West Hollywood), Blue Bottle (Venice) and Primo Passo (Santa Monica). Come lunchtime, Cafe Gratitude is a favourite as it’s vegan and I can eat everything on the menu! (Venice and West Hollywood). For dinners and cocktails, can’t beat Salt Air, Gjelina and Feed (all Venice). On the weekend, we love Malibu beach time, horse riding in Topanga, and road trips up and down the Californian coast – and yoga at Golden Bridge for my kundalini yoga fix. Currently, I’m in Carmel with Eckhart Tolle for the week on a meditation retreat…

Your skin and hair glows – what are your beauty secrets?

Thank you. I believe its all about nourishing yourself inside out. I eat mostly a plant based diet, and drink loads of clean water. I also exercise most days and beach swims are my ultimate all over body cleanse. Meditation too of course!  I live in the moment, get loads of kisses and cuddles from Chris and my fur baby (Bali)  and get no less than 8 hours sleep a night! I love, love my sleep.

You recently got engaged – what is your secret to a happy relationship?

Communication, respect and unconditional Love for the other person – tell them how much they mean to you every day – it’s the little things.

Play Projects:
– Details on Light here
– Details on Seed here