Fashion brands with philanthropic missions are nothing new – there seems to be a proliferation of them in the last several years after Tom’s became the most notable brand to have a purpose beyond profit. There are brands that donate a portion of their profits to charities, brands that invest their profits into revitalizing under served communities or providing outreach, education and employment opportunities to women, etc. All of these efforts are wonderful and commendable, but I must admit I was delighted and happily surprised when I learned about the brand Sonas Denim, a vegan-friendly brand, with a mission to build an animal sanctuary.
From the Gaelic word meaning happiness and bliss, Sonas founder Gerry Kelly caters to a creative and compassionate customer base – lots of artists, yogis, and festival goers are attracted to the brands’ funky, 70’s inspired, aesthetic. Of his customers Kelly says, “They are a compassionate and free spirited bunch. Our customer is a bit of a rebel at heart who’s not afraid to step out of the box and wear something unique… It’s quite a groovy crowd. It’s a real fun bunch.”
A music lover and festival goer himself, he launched his brand in a very organic way.
After having no luck finding a replacement for a beloved pair of old patchwork denim pants that started to fall apart, he decided his best bet was to recreate the pair himself. With the help of a friend he was able to make a new pair and, shortly thereafter, began making more to sell because they were such a hit. With such a positive response at flea markets and festivals, including Burning Man, Gerry realized he should launch a clothing and lifestyle brand based around his signature look, the patchwork denim pant.
The Patchwork denim pants Sonas creates are sustainable garments because they’re made from deadstock fabric sourced from denim factories and cutting rooms. Kelly says, “If you go to a cutting room in L.A. there is a lot of leftover denim just sitting in storage, in corners, wherever else.”
Each pair of the original Haight-Asbury Multi-Color Patchwork Flare is one-of-a-kind, while the solid Haight-Ashbury Flare offers the unique Sonas look in a more low-key alternative to the multi-color style. Entirely made in California, the rest of the Sonas collection includes various fits, from flair to skinny, low-rise to high-rise, an assortment of printed leggings, and a very badass looking jumpsuit.
For the Animals
I am most excited by Sonas’ mission to open an animal sanctuary. Christine Kelly, Gerry’s wife, has had a long-held dream to build a safe-haven where animals can live out their lives in peace. As an animal-rights attorney, Christine has devoted her life to being a voice for animals. Of her passion, he says, “She has put her life and her heart and soul into saving animals. So I told myself I have to figure out something where we can work together… It’s a lifestyle… When you own your own business it’s a lifestyle. For me to develop the blueprint of my life – obviously my wife has to be there. Her dream is to have her own sanctuary and be able to educate kids in compassionate living and have an animal ambassador sanctuary….We thought it would make sense to combine our passions and create a compassionate free spirited life style brand.”
As far as a timeline, they hope to have a better idea within the next year. They’ve been diligently looking at land for the sanctuary and are interested in the Topanga Canyon area of Los Angeles.
I appreciate the creativity and free-spirited , funky character of each pair of Sonas denim, and Gerry was kind enough to send me a pair of their beautifully printed leggings.
Working out or just cruising around, these leggings are super comfortable and add a fun alternative to the standard, boring, black-legging.
Right now, Sonas is available on their website, but plans to expand to shops and boutiques within the next year.