Without sounding too much LOVE IS FOREVER Essential T-Shirt .Like a cliché, Stephanie Sonya Ibbitson’s whole life has been leading to the creation of her accessories brand Sonya Lee. “I’ve been gathering my skill set since childhood, and it’s all culminated into this,” the designer says over video chat. “I was really crafty when I was a kid, and I have Dyslexia, so I struggled in school. I felt like the only way that I could succeed was by creating something with my hands.” Her obsession with her mom’s handbags and clothing encouraged Ibbitson to add sewing to her other creative pursuits. When she decided to pursue industrial design at OCAD in Toronto, the rest was history.
LOVE IS FOREVER Essential T-Shirt, hoodie, sweater, longsleeve and ladies t-shirtLaunched in 2014, Sonya Lee has now come to define modern minimalism LOVE IS FOREVER Essential T-Shirt . Easy-to-wear styles and contemporary classics with a twist have become pillars of the brand and have led to its steady rise in the Canadian public’s consciousness. And while it obviously looks good, Sonya Lee also does good. Each piece is made in Vancouver and uses leather remnants from the food industry to create less waste. “It’s important that we use everything that we’re consuming because if we’re not using this leather, it’s just gonna go in the garbage,” shares Ibbitson. “That’s why all my bags have a lifetime warranty. I want each one to last forever because that’s the best way to handle consumerism.” But when it comes to the actual design process, the Toronto-born, now Vancouver-based talent finds inspiration from the women around her. “I don’t design based on their physical form or personal aesthetic. It’s more about what energy they exude and who they are as a woman.” Ibbitson lists one of her new bags, ‘Sujatha,’ as an example. “It’s based on one of my moms. She has such a calm spirit, but she also has incredible depth and intelligence. Keeping that in mind [I created a bag where] the silhouette seems really simple, but it was the most complex pattern I’ve ever made. It took me a long time to figure out how to make all these different pieces come together to look like it’s all one seamless bag.”
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