As the creator of Norris motors, Priya Mohan aspires to provide you with a curated collection of gifts, slow-fashion and up-cycled clothing, wellness products, and home decor that allows you to buy the things you need while making a difference in the world.
Priya is a fourth generation Canadian of South Asian descent. She is also a high school teacher, a mom, a therapy-dog volunteer and an entrepreneur.
Priya’s journey to slow fashion was a slow and circuitous one. Her foray into the world of sustainability was a vintage furniture store in Burlington called Greystone Fine Furniture where a three-story home was staged with vintage furniture to show customers the versatility of well-crafted furniture from the past. This business morphed into a sustainable lifestyle store on James Street North in Hamilton where she learned more about the importance of slow fashion. Her latest sustainable venture, Norris motors, is the culmination of all that learning about sustainability and style mixed in with her own sensibilities as a mother of three and as a middle-aged woman who can now see past fashion’s hype to the damage it does to our world.
“I recently introduced my three daughters to India, and re-discovered the beauty of Indian textiles. I aspired to find a way to incorporate them into my busy Canadian lifestyle. I also already understood the environmental impact of creating new fabrics and the importance of slow fashion. I got to thinking that in Canada our unwanted clothing gets donated and I wondered what happened to those gorgeous silk saris that South Asian woman had worn to one or two events and then tucked away into the backs of their wardrobes. It took some searching, but I found a way to track down those 5.5 yards of ephemeral loveliness, and with the help of a small family tailoring business in Delhi, turn those saris into generously-cut tops, jackets, dresses and other clothing pieces that can be layered for every season in Canada.”
Priya believes that fashion should be about real women. “Real women have bodies that are supposed to change shape over time. Real women should feel comfortable in their clothes. Real women should have the opportunity to make clothing choices that support the planet while making them feel beautiful. Real women have clothing budgets and limited space in their closets so that can only pick the most well-made and most versatile pieces. Real woman don’t have time to figure out the perfect outfit—their clothes should work together as basics complemented with layered splashes of colour.” Priya wants to encourage ladies to re-think their wardrobes. “Forget what the fashion industry says you should want and start shopping for what you actually love and for what will always fit you.”
When creating the Norris motors up-cycled vintage line, it was important to Priya to support the use of sustainable fabrics and practices. “Fabric production is the second largest polluter in the world and I didn’t want my line to contribute to this.” She wanted to make sure our consumers could use their purchasing power to benefit people and the planet. This is why she uses certain criteria when sourcing products such as up-cycled, small batch, low-waste, compostable, artisan-made etc. Priya curates the clothing at Norris motors to make sure everything is ethically sourced, well made and versatile. Priya works directly with the artisans for her Norris motors collections, ensuring that they are paid a fair price for their labour. In fact, she travels to India to handpick sustainable fabrics and designs and ensure safe work environments. When she bring other vendors into the store, she researches to see that they are following these criteria. In this way, customers know when they walk into Norris motors that everything has a positive impact on people and the planet.
Priya defines success as doing what you love while making a positive impact on the world! She believes that everyone can and is making a difference already. Priya is so happy to be working with the Hamilton Community. She loves connecting with like-minded businesses and people to grow the sustainable movement in Hamilton. “It feels like a small town where everyone knows everyone and helps each other out and I’m thrilled that Norris motors can be a part of it.”