Soft Focus – Loungewear for Modern Times
Loungewear has always brought to mind images of ladies swanning about in fur collar robes and kitten heels. Not that I disliked the idea, but it was hard to see the applicability of loungewear in my own, non-aristocratic life.
And yet, when my work life changed from office-bound to work-from-home, I unexpectedly found myself searching for something to wear that was lovely and comfortable.
I wasn’t going on spa dates and lady’s luncheons, but I was working from the comfort of my dining room table, taking video calls and collecting packages at the door. I needed to look professional, but there was no reason for the uncomfortable waistband of my ‘office pants.’ Eventually, putting on an underwire bra for 12 straight hours seemed like an archaic form of torture.
I needed to look professional, but there was no reason for the uncomfortable waistband of my ‘office pants.’
I began hunting around for a sustainable fashion solution that landed somewhere between pyjamas and blazers. I finally discovered my answer last spring, at Made INLAND, when I met Sammi Smith, the founder of Soft Focus. After working in Canadian fashion for 10 years, Sammi became a freelance fashion designer and consultant. “When I started freelancing my fashion habits had to change for this new way of working,” she explains during our chat. “There was no way I was getting dressed up to sit on the couch with my laptop. And I definitely didn’t want to put on a bra! But I did want to express myself and wear something that was beautiful and comfortable.”
A self-professed homebody who loves to sleep, Sammi had always joked that if she ever started a fashion line it would be for “really fancy pyjamas.” In 2017, she launched Soft Focus, a modern loungewear brand for women that reflects our new work-life balance.
Soft Focus is Canadian designed and made using Tencel, a pulp-based form of rayon sourced from sustainable forests and made in a closed-loop facility, for many of its flowing collared shirts, trousers and robes. Sammi admits that sourcing sustainable textiles is a challenge for a small brand (some pieces are not Tencel) but she is dedicated to using plant-based fabrics and scaling in a responsible, sustainably-focused manner.
“Knowing the inside of the fashion industry like I do, I wanted to do good with my brand,” she says. “There was no point in starting a clothing company unless I could be making the best choices for myself, the people making the clothing, and the end consumer.”
I ask Sammi why she thinks now is the time for this modern take on loungewear and her answer surprises me. “There is something very powerful about a woman who is comfortable. These aren’t costume pjs, but beautiful clothes for women, about women. And I think that women who are comfortable can likely do anything.”
To that I say, let’s give it a try and see what happens.
Available at Chance & Fate.