Our lives are journeys. Often times we are not fully aware of our surroundings and how they alter and influence our physical and spiritual beings, but we naturally take the journey. Many of us are fortunate to have the lifestyle to get outdoors and explore a variety of recreational activities. It’s easy to take this part of our journey for granted and see the sport as one of pursuit not realizing what is right in front of us. Then again, there is also a handful of people who do not have the lifestyle to do such a thing. For me, getting outdoors has become not only a journey but a pursuit of opportunity waiting to be discovered and even challenged. I take this journey every chance I get when I go to the river to fish. I appreciate what is around me and in the water of what I may be chasing at that time; fishing simply becomes the by-product. The vehicle of scientific exploration leads me to a self-discovery of “change” which is my transformation, my balance, and my church. Whether I’m chasing trout or steelhead, wadding through the river with fellow anglers scanning the pockets and feeding lines or eddies on the river, I am metamorphosing as a pupil of what Mother Nature is revealing and how I am being shaped.
Soul River was given life as I was standing waist deep, filling my lungs with the pure fresh air, being humbly embraced by Mother Nature’s theater, and ultimately fighting my PTSD from my years serving in the U.S. Navy. Throughout the development of Soul River, a connection of art and design between the outdoor world and the urban world was inspired from the art of fly fishing. The intention is to fold both worlds into a creative, urban, outdoor fashion apparel brand beacon young and old bridging from urban to outdoors. The brand of Soul River represents an embodiment of nature inter-playing between fashion art and design and the beauty of our environment with legs in the community cultivating young minds and veterans connecting to the outdoors raising the mental state of awareness to an ambassador of the outdoors.
Photo by Ankur Dholakia
The brand is the soul of nature that is a reflection of ourselves, where we are at in that exact moment in time. It speaks to your individual lifestyle, no matter who you are, where you are, or what your passion is. Soul River represents everyone’s experiences that are interpreted like a unique thumbprint. The brand is viewed differently to each individual who embraces it because each person has their own adventure. Each experience on the water, on the trail, or in the city streets is different based on what is seen or breathed. My Soul River is different from your Soul River with diverse perspectives and experiences. My reality is the healing that water brings to the soul, the medicine to the mental, physical, and the spiritual world. At the end of the day we all stand on a common ground of interest and respect for Mother Nature, whether she’s seen in the urban world or the natural world. The brand welcomes the uniqueness and individuality, as Soul River is unconventional in its approach to the consumers just as Mother Nature is unconventional in Her approach in the outdoors.
Photo by Ankur Dholakia
The voice of the brand also advocates our opportunity to stand and fight for the injustices that younger generations face, with intention to inspire exploring the outdoors, becoming ambassadors for tomorrow, understanding that nature is freaking cool and hip. It’s the journey of all groups, including age, race, and socio-economic status, which we take as a universal reminder that we are inherently connected. Part of the brand also gives back to veterans fighting PTSD, in pursuit to provides rich opportunities such as classes & expeditions that are one day to one week outings led by Soul River and partners with US Fish and Wildlife and Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge and other partners coining the term “Iron Sharpening Iron.” Ultimately, one “iron” is U.S. veterans transitioning into society post-war in hopes that they will find peace and comfort in the healing waters. The other “iron” is community youth transitioning from a troubled past seeking alternative methods of healing by embarking into the outdoors, joining conservation efforts, and gaining a new respect for Mother Nature. Both veterans and youth have similar trials – whether it’s a literal war or a war of his/her own, struggling with street life, drugs, and gangs. By merging these two groups together, they’ll have the opportunity to mentor, learn from one another, and teach through their challenges. Soul River Runs Deep!
Photo by Ankur Dholakia