There comes a point in life, not just in fashion, where quality trumps quantity. You’ve likely noticed it in relationships. Or in your work life. And experiencing this sense of peace and comfort in terms of personal style could be a turning point in how you view brand loyalty as a shopper.
For me, this point came when I found myself seeking out more comfort and convenience from my wardrobe. As a mom, entrepreneur, and outdoor enthusiast, I longed for pieces that soothed my senses, whether I was in the middle of school drop-off or working hard on my business. I wanted something more from my wardrobe, and I was driven by an almost auto-pilot knowing that I could live better and more comfortably with less.
A Big Move Leads to Living with Less
In 2016, I found myself in the midst of an international relocation with my young family as we moved from Canada to Germany. I think the forced reality that I couldn’t pack my entire closet for the move helped prompt me to re-evaluate my fashion choices. Or perhaps it was the sense of slowing caused by a radically different pace of life in a new country and culture. I found myself yearning for a sense of comfort and ease in my clothing—a distinct feeling that I was not getting from what I owned at the time. The “comfort pieces” I had accumulated over the years no longer fit the bill for being comfortable, let alone being stylish and versatile.
As a former retail industry executive, style and design are areas of life where my attention is naturally drawn. At the time, I remember feeling this desire in my mind to open my drawers and reach for items that physically felt great on my skin but also made me feel a sense of ease in my new environment. It might sound like a lot to expect from a tee or a pair of joggers, but I believed it was possible.
And when I couldn’t find what I was looking for, I set out to design and build it myself.
Translating the Feeling of Minimalist Style
My vision for hernest project was to be able to do more with less without compromising aesthetic and comfort. To choose classics and staples that could instantly make someone smile because the fabrics felt great and because the pieces were cut just-so to make them feel polished. I wanted to defeat the days of raggedy sweatpants or fast fashion so randomly filling closet space. Instead, I wanted to thoughtfully embody the art of being comfortable. To be honest, seeing the excess contained in an average closet or dresser (regardless of whether pieces are new or decades-old) was just not a great feeling for me as a creative.
Really, how many items do you wear frequently? And what makes you grab those pieces while others slip into the recesses of the closet abyss? There was an element of choice there that I wanted to tap into.
I feel like there is a clarity that comes with having a mindfully curated wardrobe. And I wanted my customers to feel the peace of mind of having fewer items that were used in heavy rotation. I envisioned items being chosen because someone wanted to reach for them each morning or evening because they sought comfort in their very own minimalist wardrobe. That the act of choosing was because of the feelings sparked by knowing their clothes felt and fit great.
And so began my design journey.
The process of designing my first hernest project collection was a true labour of love. I focused on developing lounge and sleepwear pieces that were high-quality, sustainably sourced, ethically and transparently produced, and reasonably priced.
It sounds a bit like a “you can’t have it all” pipedream, doesn’t it?
How can you have high-quality and reasonable pricing? How can you source and produce in line with your ethos while succeeding in a crowded market? How can you build a business that is transparent in a notoriously murky industry?
It is a challenge. But it’s one that I took on full steam because I deeply believed that the fashion industry could choose to do better. And that I could translate this art of comfort into every fibre of fabric and every aspect of my business model. It’s why, with every collection since, I’ve prioritized environmental and human impact as a conscious part of hernest and published so much about our production process. And it’s also why I’ve kept the focus on the quality of the products we make because I know first-hand how they need to exist and how that contributes to a more comfortable, conscious way of living.
Being Part of a Minimalist Wardrobe
Although the slow fashion market may seem crowded at times, I do believe that finding and choosing brands that align with your views and values is worth it in the end. Even though fast fashion brands are trying to embrace better sustainability practices and delve into more minimalist aesthetics, these actions are generally in direct conflict with corporate objectives that promote buying more. Larger basket sizes, higher-order values, more shipments every season—how does that make sense when the world is at a point of trying to do more with less and seek out more moments of comfort and ease?
While the art of being comfortable might start with the clothes you buy and choose to wear, I believe that our sense of comfort does truly go beyond how fashion looks and how it makes you feel connected to the world around you.
I invite you to reach out on social media and share what pieces are bringing you comfort lately. Follow my design journey on Instagram at @hernestproject