Toronto, Canada is thriving with innovative additions to the slow fashion movement. One brand in particular includes Zen Nomad by Sonja Den Elzen, a yoga apparel line for everyday wear. The collection is 100% made from organic and sustainable materials, crafted in Canada and marketed as a luxury line. Many of her pieces include creative hems and necklines, and are meant to flow with you throughout the day from practise, to work, to a night out on the town.
Below is a Q&A with Sonja Den Elzen, founder of Zen Nomad.
Q: Tell us how Zen Nomad came to be!
Zen Nomad started after I had done a yoga teacher training retreat for which I had made myself some yoga and lifestyle clothes. While there I had a bunch of requests from other teachers, so at that point I decided that I would cultivate it into a line. I had really wanted yoga clothing made from natural, breathable materials, as most yoga wear on the market is some version of polyester, which is not great for your skin. As well I wanted clothing for when I wasn’t doing yoga that I could either layer on top, or wear on its own that had the qualities of easy movement, and a blend of simplicity with subtle style.
Q: What materials do you use to craft your apparel and where do you source them from?
The materials I am currently using are linen, hemp linen and a linen knit, bamboo, organic closed loop bamboo, organic cotton. The woven linen and hemp linen are sourced from an eco-friendly supplier in the USA, the organic closed loop bamboo is made in a mill just outside Toronto, then the organic cotton is sourced from a middle supplier in Montreal, but we are working on a future relationship with a colour grown organic cotton mill.
Q: How do you find your brand has influenced shoppers?
I find that it has influenced people to invest in pieces they love and to wear them often. As well as to make looking casual, elegant and well put together super easy. They shouldn’t have to spend a lot of time trying to figure out what to wear, and people’s lives are busy, they shouldn’t have to worry about changing outfits for each activity in the day, that their outfits should be able to carry them through errands, lunch with friends, work and a trip to the gallery with ease and style.
Q: What inspires your designs?
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I am a social entrepreneur. That means I use business as a catalyst for social goodness. I am deeply passionate about sustainable travel, zero waste living, ethical fashion and social good. I currently run North India's first zero waste guesthouse, Hara House, and am the Content Director at Causeartist.