Actress Phoebe Tonkin’s loungewear offers COVID-19 comfort

Since the pandemic, we’ve all had to adjust our routines – many people pan professionally. Phoebe Tonkin is no different.

When Hollywood productions shut down in March due to the novel coronavirus, the actress and environmental activist used the downtime to rethink an idea that had previously pushed her into the background.

Earlier this month, Tonkin teased the new project on her Instagram account next to a photo with the word “LESJOUR!” In red. The mysterious post got Tonkins 6.1 million followers Googling what the word could mean.

The answer is officially from the biodegradable bag. Tonkin launched Lesjour !, a sustainable loungewear collection on Thursday. It consists of six pieces (four tops and two pants) in two colors (black and red) with each piece sold separately for $ 198. The sets made of environmentally friendly material can be exclusively pre-ordered in sizes XS to XXL.

Though Tonkin had thought long and hard about creating a sustainable clothing line, her aesthetic was ultimately inspired by her casual wardrobe and pandemic lifestyle.

Actress and environmental activist Phoebe Tonkin at home in Los Angeles.

(Dania Maxwell / Los Angeles Times)

“I felt like I would change four times a day, but in the same pajama set,” Tonkin told The Times over Zoom in mid-October while dressed in a red Lesjour! Top that she combined with gold hoop earrings from Grandma the Label. “Then the pajamas would turn into sweatpants to go to the grocery store, and then I would come back and wear something else.”

In order to minimize changes to the wardrobe, the 31-year-old decided to make the traditional leisure suit of the 1970s modern. “I wanted to create something that was tailored, flattering, most of all comfortable, but also very chic and classic,” she said of the different styles, including cardigans, long-sleeved shirts and wide-leg pants.

“The set is a great foundation or platform for your personal style,” she said. “You can project your personality onto these clothes, as opposed to these clothes being the personality.” She also wanted the pieces to be straightforward without the need to iron. “You can chop them up at the end of the day and put them back on in the morning.”

Lesjour based in Los Angeles! is the epitome of the West Coast brand. “I definitely feel like it was influenced by the ease of living in California,” Tonkin said, adding that every garment is made in LA and all orders are shipped from the brand’s local studio.

“I moved from New York to LA to do Lesjour! Full-time, ”she explained that she had lived between the two cities, but opted for mid-quarantine to step out of her east coast lease to focus on the new business. Tonkin drives to downtown Los Angeles every few days to visit the maker. Otherwise she works from home.

“The less environmental impact, the better,” she said, adding that the factory is within five miles of her home.

Since Tonkin loves the environment as much as it does fashion, sustainability is part of their brand’s ethos. The entire line consists of Ecovero by Lenzing, a renewable viscose knitted in Los Angeles from regenerative wood pulp.

“I’m really excited to be one of the first to use it,” said Tonkin, adding that the fabric has a “super soft cashmere feel,” but that every tree the fabric is made from is new using regenerative farming methods is planted. Tonkin found the material while looking for environmentally friendly alternatives. “Fabrics like Ecovero are innovative on the next level – the future of fabrics,” she said.

Ecological considerations can be seen down to the smallest detail. Orders are shipped with the limited, reusable and biodegradable gift wrap from Better Packaging Co. In addition, every item of clothing is without a label. “Why do we need hang tags?” Said Tonkin. “If someone is going to wear it and send it back, they will wear it and put it back on anyway. It’s just additional garbage. ”

Pieces from Phoebe Tonkin’s line of sustainable loungewear, manufactured by LA, come in biodegradable, reusable gift mailers from Better Packaging Co.

(Dania Maxwell / Los Angeles Times)

While most companies haven’t given their carbon footprint that full account yet, Tonkin said she doesn’t necessarily want Lesjour! as “this sustainable brand that screams from the roof”. She feels like she “does all of this homework for the consumer so that they can trust us. It should go without saying by now, if you can do a little more to bring it to this planet, it should be sustainable. … That is only to be expected from new brands. ”

Tonkin acknowledged that some consumers’ eyes may be glazed over the word “sustainability,” which can feel like a buzzword, but part of that could be due to its ever-changing definition. In many ways, consumers don’t know what the word means as Tonkin says fashion companies are still on the best way to minimize their carbon footprint.

“Everyone’s trying to bet on what sustainability is,” Tonkin said, noting that deadstock was a trend at one point before realizing it wasn’t doing much. She hopes companies will continue to focus on sustainability so that it becomes the industry standard. Kering, which owns Gucci, Saint Laurent and Balenciaga, employed a chief sustainability officer, while LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, Armani and Vivienne Westwood have joined initiatives to offset their carbon footprint.

Tonkin claims the fashion industry needs to do better. “The consumer’s main goal should be to buy something sweet that goes well with them,” she said. “And then we do everything else behind the scenes to make sure they feel cute.”

Lesjour! plans to bring out a new colorway every six weeks and introduce different styles next summer. “The plan is to start small and manageable,” said Tonkin. “It’s pretty much just us who have just left my house.”

While Tonkin often says “us” and “we” while talking about her new brand, Lesjour is! is exclusively a one-woman production with Tonkin. Occasionally, however, she asks close fashion friends for advice or support. Case in point: model / actress Dree Hemingway styled and stars in Lesjour! ‘S lookbook that photographer Alex Cramer shot in Tonkin’s living room next to Tonkin and model Loreal Ellis.

A photo of a $ 198 top from Lesjour!
Lesjour !, a sustainable loungewear collection, consists of six pieces (four tops and two pants) in two colors (black and red) with each piece sold separately for $ 198.

(Alex Cramer / Lesjour!)

A photo of pants from Lesjour!
The Lesjour! Sets made from environmentally friendly materials can be pre-ordered in sizes XS to XXL.

(Alex Cramer / Lesjour!)

Fashion, sustainability and friendship are often synonymous with Tonkin. While she’s an avid vintage clothes buyer, she said she understands that “people work hard and indulge themselves and want to buy something new and special”. With this in mind, she has been a Chanel ambassador since 2017. It was first presented to the Environmental Advocacy Group Natural Resources Defense Council. The nonprofit benefits from a Chanel sponsored Malibu gala hosted each year by activist Kelly Meyer.

Shortly after Meyer had introduced Tonkin to her daughter Carson, the women stood up for her on behalf of the NRDC in Sacramento. “We were there to talk about pesticides and oil pollution in the California Ocean,” said Tonkin, adding that she has since been active within the organization and is particularly close to Carson Meyer. The women hope to lobby in Washington, DC next. Tonkin has been interested in environmental activism since she remembered.

“As Australians, it’s kind of ingrained in how we grow up,” said Tonkin, who has worked as an actress since her teenage years. “I didn’t really have to teach myself. That’s me. ”

Tonkin moved to Los Angeles at 20 – and found driving more daunting than anything else. “I failed my driver test in Australia about five times and got it a day or two before my flight here,” she said with a laugh. “My first impression of LA was that I drove 24 hours on the LA highways to get my driver’s license. It was terrifying. ”

From there it was full speed ahead. Tonkin booked several CW series including “The Secret Circle”, “The Vampire Diaries” and “The Originals”. Most recently she starred in Hulu’s “Bloom,” a drama starring Australian colleague and Oscar nominee Jacki Weaver. Tonkin also wrote and directed a short film called “Furlough” and appeared on HBO’s “Westworld”.

While filming has taken her in and out of town over the years, Los Angeles has remained a home base. “I’m definitely an Angeleno now,” Tonkin said. “I love the Californian lifestyle. LA is a great base for adventure and experiences. ”

Phoebe Tonkin
Phoebe Tonkin knows the fashion industry is very busy when it comes to what sustainability is and what it will mean in the future.

(Dania Maxwell / Los Angeles Times)

She said her quarantine routine included early morning trips to the beach. “I was so nervous about going to the beach during everything,” she said. “Then, for the last month, I think, ‘Mentally I have to go swimming at least once a week. ‘I drove to Malibu – only swam 20 minutes – got back in my car in my wet swimmers and drove home. ”

Tonkin doesn’t know what the future holds, but she accepts the journey. “Since I’m an actress, I usually wait for the phone to ring to give me permission to be creative,” she said. “Being able to control my own creativity and my own life, my business – all of these things – was an amazing realization to me.”

She credits Lesjour! as a contribution to their positive outlook during the pandemic. “This is the calmest and most excited and grounded I’ve felt in a long time,” she said.

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