Sunday Collective founder, Manon Lopez smiles when she begins to talk about her love of Formula 1. “it started in 2012. I had just moved to Singapore and my dad found us tickets to go see the Friday practice. I was NOT expecting that, the sound, the lights, the speed, everything was quite overwhelming but in a good way, and the vibe was so fun. Everyone was so happy to be here, there were concerts, lots of events and activities, I knew I was hooked.”
Since then her love for the sport has continued to grow. Not only that but it inspired her to create and launch, the streetwear brand, Sunday Collective, which came from a desire to own apparel she could wear on and off the track. “I wanted to show that I loved F1 without having to wear constructors’ merch. Inspired by streetwear, through Sunday Collective I connect all my passions: Formula 1, Fashion, Design and Entrepreneurship.”
What sets Sunday Collective apart is its commitment to slow fashion. Every item is made to order, which avoids leftover stock if some items don’t sell, and means that items are produced just for you. “Since each item is made to order, we have a slow production cycle. We produce the items every 2 weeks and we ship them right after.
“Travel, Formula 1, and fashion are hobbies that have a negative impact on our planet. It’s hard to be environmentally conscious while trying to pursue your dreams, however, whilst creating Sunday Collective I wanted to respect the environment as much as possible.”
When we buy a fashion item we want them to last a long time. Sunday Collective works only with high-quality materials made to last and each item is made from organic cotton or recycled materials, with all printing and embroidery done in a Paris atelier.
Originally from a very small town in the Northeast of France near Belgium, Manon spent 16 years growing up there before moving abroad, where she lived in Singapore, Canada and Australia.
When Manon arrived back in France she moved to the bright lights of Paris, to pursue one of her passions: working in fashion, which she has been doing for the past 5 years, “I was in the 1st arrondissement, then the 11th, which is one of my favourite arrondissements with the 3rd, so many cool coffee shops, little designer stores, concept stores, I absolutely love it. I don’t live in Paris anymore now, I live right next to the Bois de Boulogne which is much more peaceful and green.”
Her love, commitment and drive for building the brand, ensure that Manon is always kept busy. When she needs time to get away from everything though, she seeks solace in the simple things. “I enjoy baking, playing board games on Sunday with crepes or reading a good book.
“An ideal day for me would be to wake up late in the morning, get ready to catch up with my friends over brunch, then go for a little stroll around the city, maybe a bit of window shopping, get a good coffee and in the evening having apéro with good wine, good friends and good music.”
“For example, I would love to create something with the F1 Academy. I love this series that is empowering women and helping them get to higher levels of racing and I would love to help bring more attention to it. And if it’s not with a series maybe creating something with a racing driver or a content creator would be really cool. I am also planning to attend at least 1 race (or several) next year and create content there (I still have a “photoshoot at a race track” to cross off my bucket list!)”
It was a pleasure to sit down with Manon as we spoke about her love for F1, Sunday Collective, the challenges behind building a brand and why F1 is at a major turning point.
What I love about F1 is that it’s the pinnacle of sport, every decision counts
My love for the sport comes from my dad (I know, cliché right?!) he was always obsessed with cars, and I grew up watching him fix up cars, scooters, and bikes every week-end. When he was younger he briefly raced himself with his school. He raced in a Renault Turbo 5 I think. He truly gave me the love of beautiful cars and he helped me understand what’s so special about sports cars and motorsport in general.
I think I really fell in love with F1 in 2012, I had just moved to Singapore and my dad found us tickets to go see the Friday practice. I was NOT expecting that, the sound, the lights, the speed, everything was quite overwhelming but in a good way, and the vibe was so fun. Everyone was so happy to be here, there were concerts, lots of events and activities, I knew I was hooked.
Obviously, I had to pick my favourite driver, it was Lewis Hamilton and that hasn’t changed since! What I love about F1 is that it’s the pinnacle of sport, every decision counts, every gram counts, and it’s not only about the best driver but also the best car, the best engine, the best aero, it’s really a team effort to make it work. And every year everything can be different (I learned that the hard way in 2022 being a Mercedes fan…)
I think we’re at a major turn-point for Formula 1
I think over the past 3 years the sport changed a lot compared to the Senna and Schumacher days! Obviously, Drive to Survive changed a lot of things, some of the changes are for the best but not all.
As a marketer I think Netflix did an amazing job at rejuvenating the sport, giving it a cooler and younger vibe and because it’s so popular now, some smaller series are under the spotlight as well like Formula 2 or F1 Academy.
It has created so many opportunities for small businesses, content creators and young drivers. It also made the sport a lot more accessible to fans to understand how it works and want to learn more about the strategy or engineering, so I do believe there’s a lot of good that came out of the show.
Because of the growing popularity, there’s a lot of money on the table and I do believe a lot of decisions are too money-related. For example, I feel like some of the new regulations are only here to put on a show and make the teams closer to one another on the track but they are not always smart and justified.
I understand that there’s a growing US fan base but I don’t think 3 races in the US is fair compared to Asian fans for example who only have Japan, Singapore and next year China. I also think that removing historical circuits like Le Mans, le Castellet or even thinking about removing Spa from the calendar makes no sense to me because the sport is European and has deep roots in many countries in Europe.
Overall, I think we’re at a major turn-point for Formula 1 with the growing popularity and business opportunities and I’m very excited to see what’s next. I think Las Vegas is a good example of what could be coming next with all the brand collaborations between designers or brands and teams. By hiring A$AP Rocky as a creative director, Formula 1 is catching up to the NBA on the marketing and fashion side and building a lifestyle brand and not only a sports brand.
The biggest challenge I came across would be doubts.
The inspiration for the brand came from a conversation with one of my best friends. We were discussing how much we love F1 but we would never wear constructors’ merch outside of the track or F1 event. We discussed ideas of how we could create something that showed we loved F1 without being too visible, something you could wear both on and off track.
I thought about it for a while and realised I wanted to create something different from other merch you can find online, that’s more focused on drivers and teams (that I also really like) and make it more towards motorsport in general. It was also very important for me to create something that’s genderless, both in design and sizing.
There are so many achievements that I am proud of, for example we recently celebrated our 1st anniversary and never in a million years did I think the brand would be here today. Obviously, the easy one to mention would be how we outscored all the KPIs I had set for the first year (in terms of sales, followers etc.) but what’s most important is the community that we built, such a kind, engaged and supportive community.
The biggest challenge I came across would be doubts. I am alone handling all parts of the business, which is super fun and I’m learning so much from it but it’s also difficult to take some distance from everything. When a post or a product doesn’t perform as well as I hoped I question myself and the strategy. I also am afraid of “writer’s block” and not finding the creativity to create new content and new products.
I think the pressure of creating drives people to make the wrong choices
I love to take pictures of everything that inspires me, from design, fashion or art, to things I see online or in the streets. I make tons of mood boards of things I think go well together and then I doodle a lot. That’s my creative process. Sometimes the mood boards stay hidden for a while until I finally know what to do with it.
I’m an overthinker and perfectionist so I don’t come out with a lot of novelties, I want to be 100% sure about the design and I want to be proud of every detail before launching it. That’s why I’d rather work on small drops throughout the year instead of dropping an entire collection once or twice per year because I don’t want to feel pressured to create pieces I’m not 100% convinced are perfect. Which I think is also a way to stay away from fast fashion.
I think the pressure of creating drives people to make the wrong choices about sourcing and producing garments, it also pushes them to copy other designs or come out with designs that are a bit rough on the edges sometimes.
It was very important for me to be environmentally conscious when I created Sunday Collective. There are a lot of reasons why I wanted my clothing to be made out of organic cotton or recycled polyester. I also pay attention to the manufacturer of the products if they treat and pay their employees fairly. We use clothing that has a high g/m2 which means the material is quite thick, not likely to tear apart or stretch with time.
We work with an atelier in Paris who is an expert in different techniques of printing. We’ve tested several techniques to make sure that even with lots of washes and wear the prints never fade or crack. This way every piece we create is made to last a long time.
Sunday Collective is a way to mix both of my passions.
I have always loved fashion, from a very young age. My mom is a self-taught seamstress, she can make virtually anything. When I was younger she made all of my dance and theater costumes, she created some outfits for me and my sisters and she was actually about to launch her very own brand for a while. I always admired how she could turn an idea into an actual garment and that’s something I want to learn in the future as well.
I loved to play dress-up as a child and I loved how different outfits made me feel different kind of ways. Somedays you want to feel chic and elegant, some others you want to feel badass and reckless, there’s always the perfect outfit for every mood and all aspects of your personality. I always knew I wanted to work in this field so I moved back to France from Canada to pursue this passion. I have worked in fashion for the past 4 years now, before starting Sunday Collective, and I absolutely love it.
I have also always been obsessed with digital art, my first love was photography but throughout the years I’ve also learned about graphic design and more recently I want to get into 3D animation. I just love how with one computer you can create a world that is absolutely yours and immerse everyone in it.
I see digital art and photography as a way to show the brand personality, tell our story and show how we are different apart from the clothing itself. For me, Sunday Collective is a way to mix both of my passions.
With all our thanks to the wonderful Manon Lopez.
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