A BURNING INSPIRATION
Our story begins in 2001 at a vintage store on Haight Street in San Francisco, where I came upon an amazing pair of patchwork jeans. Originally from Dublin, Ireland, I’d recently landed in the States after a few years of traveling, and I was just off to Burning Man for the first time. I knew right then that those jeans were coming with me.
What I didn’t know was that nine trips to Burning Man later, the demise of those jeans (and the quest to replace them) would be the beginning of a life-changing adventure.
THE MOTHER OF INVENTION
We had no designs to work in the fashion industry, but fate stepped in when our unsuccessful mission to find a pair of jeans as cool and unique as that patchwork pair I loved so much, led to an unexpected alternative. Why not make them ourselves!
So my wife and I laid out all sorts of different color denim patches on our living room floor, and hired a seamstress we knew to put it all together—three pairs with different patterns and colors.
Whenever I wore those homemade jeans, everyone asked about them, so we made some more and started bringing them to flea markets in and around San Francisco. Around this time, my real estate business was falling apart, but actually everything was just falling into place. I had this vision of a whole line of fashion, and I knew it was time to really give it a bash.
A MENTOR ARRIVES
We made 100 pairs of jeans, brought them to a trade show in Los Angeles, and a fashion writer from the California Apparel News wrote a short piece about them. The article caught the attention of fashion design veteran Allen Chevalier, who immediately felt a kinship with the designs.
Allen was excited to help us take our new enterprise to the next level. With his guidance, we refined the patterns, fabrics, stitching and fit, and created the comfortable, fashion-forward jeans you see today, all of which are 100% cruelty-free (no animals were harmed) and made almost exclusively from recycled or re-purposed materials.
There is love and happiness in everything we create—so much so that when we launched our compassionate lifestyle brand in 2011, we decided to call it Sonas (the Irish word for “happiness”). And just like our first original pair of vintage jeans, patchwork continues to inspire us—different fabrics from different points in time, with different colors and textures, coming together to make something new and amazing!
Gerry & Christine Kelly 2016