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We’ve all had to adjust our routines since the pandemic — with many people pivoting professionally. Phoebe Tonkin is no different.

When Hollywood productions halted in March because of the novel coronavirus, the actress and environmental activist used the downtime to revisit an idea she’d previously put on the back burner.

Earlier this month, Tonkin teased the new project on her Instagram account alongside a photo with the word “LESJOUR!” in red. The mysterious post left Tonkin’s 6.1 million followers Googling what the word might mean.

The answer is officially out of the biodegradable bag. On Thursday, Tonkin launched Lesjour!, a sustainable loungewear collection. It consists of six pieces (four tops and two pants) in two colorways (black and red) with each piece sold separately for $198. The sets, fashioned from earth-friendly material, are exclusively available for preorder on lesjour.com in sizes XS to XXL.

Although Tonkin had long contemplated creating a sustainable fashion line, its aesthetic was ultimately inspired by her off-duty wardrobe and pandemic lifestyle.

“I felt like I was changing four times a day but in the same variation of pajamas,” Tonkin told The Times over Zoom in mid-October while clad in a red Lesjour! top, which she paired with gold hoop earrings by Oma the Label. “Then the pajamas would elevate to sweatpants to go to the grocery store and then I’d come back and put something else on.”


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Phoebe Tonkin is getting into loungewear.

The actress has been working on her debut fashion line since June, when she realized she had been living in pajamas for three months during the coronavirus pandemic.

“I was changing four times a day, but everything was a weird version of pajamas,” Tonkin told WWD via Zoom. “I wanted something that felt as cozy and comfortable as sweatpants, but was more polished, tailored and refined.”

LesJour offers cozy and chic uniforms for the Work From Home set. The brand is launching direct-to-consumer with six styles — four tops and two bottoms — in three colorways, with sizes ranging from XS to XXL. Each piece, which retails for less than $200, is made of EcoVero, a renewable material comprised of wood and wood pulp, and comes in biodegradable packaging from Better Packaging Co. New styles and colors will drop every six weeks on LesJour’s web site.

“I’m passionate about the environment and sustainability,” Tonkin said. “If I’m putting something else into the world, I have to make sure it’s durable, sustainable, that we’re doing all of the homework for the consumer so they don’t have to worry about it. When I’m buying things, I want to be able to trust what I’m spending money on is doing that work.”

The brand is self-funded by Tonkin and based in Los Angeles, where she recently relocated from New York City. Due to COVID-19, she and the LesJour team were forced to work entirely via Zoom, which Tonkin called “a big game-changer.”

LesJour is Tonkin’s first fashion design venture. It will remain direct-to-consumer for the foreseeable future, since Tonkin shops primarily online and via Instagram. The designs, she said, are inspired by Chanel.

“I’ve been working with Chanel for the last few years and learning by osmosis,” Tonkin said. “Chanel is incredible in that everything is so beautifully tailored, so flattering. A lot of those pieces are staples. [LesJour] came out of what I felt is flattering on a bunch of different body shapes. I’ve probably worn the same style for 10 years — jeans, ballet flats and a sweater. I love that classic French style. This is one step further in terms of coziness and comfort.”

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The actress and Chanel ambassador debuts her own label that takes the guesswork out of what to wear on Zoom calls.

It was five minutes before I had to log on to a Zoom call, and all I could find was a lumpy, oversized gray cardigan to wear over my Minnie Mouse shirt. For the months I’ve spent conducting interviews from home, I have yet to fine-tune my wardrobe for our new normal (cue the collective sigh). Comfort is the only factor I consider when rummaging through my drawers in the morning, and I often forget that the array of Disney shirts I’ve collected over the years isn’t the best option for when I have to appear on-screen.

Phoebe Tonkin, however, was more than ready for our video conference. Dressed in a bright-red cardigan, she accessorized with bold gold jewelry. And I wasn’t at all surprised: The 31-year-old actress—best known for her roles in The Vampire Diaries and its spin-off series, The Originals—is a Chanel ambassador. She was also calling from her home in Los Angeles to discuss the launch of Lesjour!, her new fashion label that is perfectly suited for the era of biz-leisure.

Lesjour!, which is a play on the French phrase les jours (“the days”), began percolating in Tonkin’s mind nearly two years ago. Having immersed herself in Chanel’s atelier and wanting to start an endeavor outside of the precarious entertainment industry, she set out to create a line that reflected her chic, laid-back style. While in quarantine, she realized the pieces she was envisioning had started to become the standard for those working from home, so she “pulled the trigger.”

Along with Tonkin’s red cardigan, Lesjour! offers six sets of coordinating wide-leg knit pants and roomy tops, all made from EcoVero, a sustainable fabric made from wood pulp, and retail for $198 per piece. For Tonkin, the garments are meant to be hassle-free go-tos worn every day of the week—hence the name. Lesjour! takes the guesswork out of finding that one outfit that will work for a variety of situations: sending work emails from your couch, nipping out to the grocery store, or—if you’re like me—constantly hopping on a Zoom call.

Ahead, Tonkin tells BAZAAR.com how she founded Lesjour! and where she sees the brand going beyond the pandemic.