In 2006 - when eco-fashion still had the reputation of being shapeless and bland - designer Sonja den Elzen launched an environmentally conscious company that proved fashion forward design and and environmental responsibility could happen under one label. And that label was Thieves.

Paper-Doll: How did you get into fashion design?
Sonja den Elzen: Fashion design has been a compulsion since childhood. My birthday month(September) issue of Vogue was always super thick and an anticipated treat to look through and dream. Fashion television also provided lots of inspiration for steps towards fashion design. Post secondary education was everything but fashion, but when I moved to Toronto in 1996 I started my first streetwear label JY Stijls. In 2006 I started my current contemporary label, Thieves, which focuses on sustainability.

What is the first thing you designed?
Probably the summer dresses I would make for myself as a young teen.

What inspires you / your work?
I am inspired by so much, my surroundings, far away places, music, architecture, Japanese and Scandinavian design, other designers, art, nature, people who have a very individual style, and the fantastical.

Describe your Spring Summer 09 Collection.
Spring summer 09 was inspired by the abstract idea of cabinets of curiosities and the fantastical realms. Using an ethereal colour palette of charcoal, creme, slight gold shimmer, and bringing the styling and cuts of each piece to a more elegant place, yet giving the wearer a sense of sophisticated ease. The fabrics used are bamboo, tussah silks, tencel, organic wool crepes and organic cottons. There are the usual organic lines and textures, that appear in the Thieves collections, blended with tailored details.
What is your favourite piece from your Spring Summer 09 Collection?
My favorite outfit is the silk vneck dress with the bamboo and silk vest for women.

What is the most difficult thing about your job?
Trying to do everything in a business on top of designing.

What fashion era do you love?
I have to say I love the 20s , the freedom and flirtiness of the styles, the attitudes.

Do you have a real or imaginary muse?
It varies, sometimes it is a friend, sometimes it is an idea, or an imagined muse.
What fashion trend would you not be caught dead in?
Uggs is that really fashion?

What is your favourite item in your personal wardrobe?
My ecru rousched leather boots

What is on your current fashion wishlist?
A jacket by Rick Owens

What is your favourite thing about the city you live in? (Toronto)
The diversity of the people, culture, food and music.

What is next for your label?
I'm currently working on Fall 09 and the New Labels competition with TFI and Elle magazine.

Visit: Thieves for more images and shopping links.
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A Canadian based in Berlin writing about beautiful design, from fashion to interior and beyond.
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