Full Contact Life is an expression I’ve been using since I was a teenager. For me, it is a mindset to embrace all that life throws at you, the good, the really good and the bad. It grounds me and helps me find perspective. It’s a compass that helps guide me towards my goals. In a way, it’s really an attitude. Full contact is better than no contact!
I grew up in a family who loved to sew…and lived a life in lycra at the pool as a collegiate level competitive swimmer. These two influences taught me everything about “fit” – speed, comfort, performance. There was a reason we met… Along with Chip, I headed the design team at lululemon athletica, creating some of lululemon’s most iconic designs (such as the Groove Pant & lululemon Hoodie). It was a struggling time for a new company but every day created its own way forward. Our approach was to be original and innovate in the athletic apparel market, which we achieved through the careful marriage of technical fabrics with athletic pursuits, allowing athletes to perform at their highest level. We started with the emerging yoga market given the need in the marketplace (sweat pants were not made for hot yoga!) and our personal interest in yoga.
By marrying fashion, function, and form, we created “Technical made Beautiful” for sport. And every thing we have done in business, fashion, and life has contributed to the genesis of this new movement of technical apparel design. Chip and I are passionate about leading this discipline and have established the Chip and Shannon Wilson School of Design at Kwantlen Polytechnic University to help create the next generation of technical apparel designers right in our back yard where we pioneered it.
"As a child I had to make my own clothes. I had to learn how to sew if I wanted new things."
When I was a young girl, I connected with the humanitarian movement and became passionate about empowering others. I was moved by the poverty issues facing children in Haiti, which opened up so many things in my life, and set me on a path to where I am today.’
In 2007, I established imagine1day, a non-profit organization that’s committed to bringing quality education to all Ethiopians funded free of foreign aid by 2030. Our team, and the positive impact we are making, blows my mind. Closer to home, we support the Children’s Hospital’s annual ChildRun and we continue to support homeless issues in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. I also love the power of art and fell in love with the inspiring public art piece in Vancouver known as “A-maze-ing Laughter.” This is art at it’s best. It’s interactive and instantly brings smiles to all ages. We have since invested in this piece as a legacy of how simple a smile can be. This is the stuff that really moves me.
My favorite place is our home on the Sunshine Coast (British Columbia). Our family time there is always special, probably because we spend most of the day outside. It feels like being a kid again. We live simple and eat healthy (often from the garden), and the days are long and full of laughs. This is our happy place and I’m grateful for having it in our lives. Visit it sometime if you can.
When I think about it, my time on the coast deeply influences my design aesthetic, both in fashion and interiors. Light architecture, fluid movement, simplicity, and natural materials are the ingredients to my work in both apparel and interior design. Most recently, I’ve been training for triathlons and marathons, and chasing our youngest boys around the house (which sometimes includes Chip). Naturally, I continue to keep my hand in design, mentoring (when asked) the next generation of designers at lululemon, and practicing yoga.
So why whil? And why now?
I believe the most powerful and exciting shift, possibly in decades, is happening right now. One that marries age-old wisdom with modern, digitally driven lifestyles. One that marries purpose and passion, accelerating personal achievement. This is an exciting time…and we want to be part of it with you.