All about the founder, her brand, and how to create the perfect capsule wardrobe just in time for fall!
Meet Kristi Soomer- the founder and visionary behind Canadian slow-fashion brand, Encircled. Encircled is actually one of the few Canadian apparel brands which is a Certified B. Corp and put the planet and people before profits. Today, HOLR is sitting down with Kristi to chat with her about her brand, and her experience in the sustainable fashion industry. Keep reading to learn all about Encircled and how to create a capsule wardrobe just in time for the back-to-work season.
Tell us about your brand, Encircled, and how you got started in the fashion industry.
Encircled makes ethical shopping effortless by creating transformative, long-lasting designs, made in a way that honours the world around us. We believe in living intentionally through all aspects of your life, including your wardrobe. So, we create thoughtfully designed pieces that basically aim to be the opposite of what fast fashion stands for.
I originally started Encircled out of the frustration of not being able to find versatile travel clothing for work and leisure. At the time, I was flying frequently for work, and wanted to be able to travel light, and do so both stylishly, and comfortably. Our first design, the Chrysalis Cardi is the epitome of multifunctional – it transforms into 8 different outfits. After developing that product idea, I figured out how to manufacture it, built a website, and brought it to market. Over the years, we’ve taken the ‘carry on only travel’ concept to the closet with the idea that you can do more with less if you have versatile pieces that mix and match easily and make you feel 100% confident any day of the week.
What is slow fashion and how does Encircled combine style, quality, ethics, and sustainability into its production process and products?
We embed sustainability and ethics at the foundation of our business so that it permeates throughout every decision we make in the business from which fabric we choose to where we make our products to the type of paper we print on at the office.
Encircled is proudly a certified B Corporation with one of the highest impact scores in the fashion category in Canada, meaning that we’ve committed to using our business as a force for good in the world. Our production is local to us, within a 50km drive from our head office which reduces the carbon footprint for how far our clothing has to travel from us to our customers but also ensures a high quality of life for the worker making the clothing.
We also knit and dye about half our fabric locally ensuring the strongest environmental regulations are upheld. We even have processes embedded into our manufacturing whereby we collect production cuttings and upcycle them into valuable accessories. Everything we do is with the lens of how we can lessen our impact on the earth, and improve the lives of those involved in making the clothing we wear.
As the world begins to open up, can you talk to us about the back-to-work capsule wardrobe and what essentials we should keep in mind when building one?
Versatility is going to be beyond key. There are many workplaces that still may not open, some partially may re-open, and a few that will be ‘back to business.’ I believe it will be difficult to go back to ‘business casual’ or formal as people have been living in their most comfortable clothing for almost two years.
So, it will be imperative to have pieces of clothing in your capsule wardrobe that can flex to whatever environment you’re working in, and that are easy to dress up or down.
I’d start with a few classics, a nice pair of sweatpants (our dressy sweatpants are the perfect compromise between dress pants and sweatpants), a classic blazer, midi skirt, well-made tees, sustainably sourced denim, and a few pairs of comfy shoes.
Keep it simple, and make sure you’re buying pieces that mix and match easily so that you can make more outfits out of fewer pieces.
Since fall is around the corner and it’s back-to-work season, many of us are also looking for ways to organize and declutter our space so that it is more functional, allowing us to be more productive. With your experience in sustainability and the fashion industry, can you share any tips on how we can work to declutter and organize our closets for the upcoming fall season?
Always start with what you have in your closet today. Do a full closet audit – meaning pull everything out of your closet and drawers and see what fits, what’s not fitting, what you’re wearing vs. not, and start to sort your closet into three piles – keep, donate/sell, hold.
The ‘keep’ pile will go back in your closet, the donate/sell/swap may find a new life in someone else’s closet and the ‘hold’ pile will become pieces you flag to revisit on your next closet audit.
Next, sit back and contemplate your lifestyle. How does your current closet match that? Can you take any other pieces out? Is there anything missing that you need to buy/find? Taking a slow, intentional approach to shopping and building your wardrobe is key to keeping your closet streamline, decluttered, and making it easier to get dressed.
What does the future of Encircled look like in terms of what’s next for the brand?
Our Fall collection is inspired by the idea of ‘work leisure which meshes the best aspects of comfort with a high style design. Think yoga wear level comfort in business level dressy.
We’ve got a new sustainable blend of scuba fabric we’re launching with the work-leisure collection too. Lastly, we’re working on several new innovative pieces that have transformation at their core including a length-changing dress, sleeve shifting midi, and blouse that reverses. It’s going to be a fun season!
Check out www.encircled.ca for more information and to shop the brand!
Published by HOLR Magazine.