Tuesday, June 07, 2016

From Organic Clothing to Yarn Bombing - Meet Sonja of Shift To Nature

A little while back I stumbled across Shift to Nature – an Australian online store specialising in organic and fair-trade clothing. Recently I sat down with the owner and founder, Sonja, over a virtual cup of tea and got to know her a little better.
Sonja started Shift to Nature with her friend Silke, whom had recently relocated from Germany to Australia with her family. “Shift to Nature has a nice story,” Sonja says, “Each year Silke would holiday back in Germany, and she would return with beautiful Organic Cotton clothing and linen.” Finding it difficult to source products of the same high standard in Australia, Sonja and Silke decided to do something about it – and Shift to Nature was born.
Since Silke returned to Germany in 2013, Sonja has continued on, searching the world for beautiful and ethical products.

In 2015 Shift to Nature became a Social Enterprise with the Service to Youth Council, enabling younger people the opportunity to learn all about running an online business. “It’s lovely for the young people doing the dispatch and other elements of the business to watch Shift to Nature gain awareness and a loyal following.” Sonja says, “I also collaborate with some wonderful and talented women. It creates a strong and supportive community of women who have been recreating their lives and businesses to align with ethical and eco values. I love being able to support other women in their creative and business endeavours. It’s a really amazing experience.”

Sonja sources products with the Global Textile Standard (GOTS) certificate – ensuring that products such as the Betty Browne Fitted Angle Top are truly organic. “It’s very important for me to sample and thoroughly test the products myself,” she says, “Ultimately it’s about helping the customer find the item that’s right for them.”
I agree with Sonja that it’s critically important to support ethical and fair-trade brands. “In our times the Fast Fashion industry is continuing to do large scale environmental and social damage,” Sonja says. “With organic and natural fabrics there is nothing quite like feeling the difference yourself. Once you’ve got it on and feel the softness and breathability you’ll realise there is nothing quite like it.”
So far I have tried Sonja’s own label of Organic Cotton leggings and a few pieces from the Betty Browne range and I have fallen in love – the softness is delicious and the wearability everything I have been looking for. 

I’ve loved getting to know the person behind Shift to Nature a little better – Sonja’s passion and enthusiasm for her industry is so inspiring. 
There’s just one more thing I had to ask her about, and that was her involvement in some local yarn bombing projects.

“When it was suggested that I take up knitting to slow down my very busy mind, I soon discovered that several of my friends and “school mums” in Adelaide also knit,” Sonja said, “I started a Knit & Chat morning once a week at a local café. One of the school mums is also an artist, so for the South Australian Living Artists event she organised to enter our Yarn Bombing Project of Magill Primary School in the Community Arts category. We planned, we knitted and we covered railings, fences, trees and gardens – almost everything except the students and teachers! We installed it over a weekend so that when the kids arrived on Monday morning they were so surprised and thrilled to have their school brightened up and feeling cosy. It was a very 'grassroots' project, which I love, and we had wonderful contributions from grandmothers and knitters in the local community too.”

Sonja has very kindly offered you 15% off storewide with the code Eco15 for a limited time. Yay!

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Maira Gall