Tell us about yourselves and what you do
Sharon Farren is co-founder of Kokoro Zen Wear, the first handmade Irish luxury unisex organic clothing and accessory line.
Kokoro is Japanese for “your heart, your soul, your spirit” and captures the ethos of the company.
The brand uses bamboo fabrics that are sustainable, organic, hypoallergenic and antibacterial – and ultra luxurious.
Kokoro Zen Wear is designed with love and integrity to make a tangible impact in the fashion industry by introducing positive, ethical and organic clothes.
Why did you decide to create your own business?
I’ve created and run many fashion businesses throughout my career.
Kokoro Zen Wear was born from a desire to design beautiful clothes from sustainable fabrics.
I view all my actions through the lens of what impact they are having on the planet. We know the fashion industry as a whole has a problematic environmental footprint, but that doesn’t have to be the case.
My close friend and business partner, Nader Fahm, feels the same way.
We both wanted our clothes to be about timeless comfort.
Once we discovered our bamboo sport and bamboo silk fabrics, we knew we could create a fashion brand that brings luxury to the world while being kind to our precious earth.
What keeps you motivated?
Firstly, Kokoro’s philosophy is “good thoughts, good words, good deeds”. It’s a simple and extremely powerful guideline for life, and one that keeps me motivated all the time.
Then the business itself keeps me going.
We have a creative design studio in Dublin and we work with highly experienced artisans. Our team is made up of talented people who all believe in our eco friendly mission, and are excited to be part of an alternative vision for fashion.
Given that Kokoro is a start-up, we’ve already had some incredible opportunities come our way and this is very motivating. Last year, we were invited to work with the Jane Goodall Global Institute as part of her annual fundraising event. That was a real honor and now we are part of an international organisation run by a true environmentalist!
Who has been a role model to you and why?
Elon Musk, who has inspired us to be the new Tesla of the Fashion business.
How do you maintain a solid work life balance?
I’ll be honest, balance at times takes some fancy footwork. At the moment the Kokoro team is really busy.
Like everyone, I’m dealing with the challenges the pandemic and lockdown have inserted into our lives alongside running a business. That can make for difficult moments, but it also adds clarity. I’ve become laser focused on what needs to be done.
To maintain balance in my life, I look after myself. And wearing our clothes is a wonderful way of doing that. Once you have felt natural bamboo fabric against your skin, it’s a luxury you don’t want to do without.
What traits do you possess that make a successful leader?
I love people and this is one of the traits I bring to my leadership style.
I communicate clearly on what the vision is and the strategy we’re going to follow to realise it, and then give my team the freedom to do their best work.
What has been the hardest obstacle you’ve overcome?
Without a doubt, launching online three months prior to the COVID pandemic and having to fly in unusual attitudes.
What is one piece of advice that you have never forgotten?
No problems, only solutions. Words to live by!
Outside of work, what defines you as a person?
Being an adventurer, I love learning and taking on new experiences with all the incredible people I meet along the way.
Where do you see you and your company in 5 years?
Kokoro Zen Wear already distributes globally through Wolf & Badger, the online store for ethical and sustainable designers.
In five years time, we’ll have contributed to a bigger awareness of the benefits of embracing sustainable fashion. It will soon be mainstream to be wearing only Eco fabrics, such as bamboo, Vegan fabrics or recycled polyester
How can you be reached?
Kokoro Zen Wear can be reached through the following social media channels: