It’s been a long time since crossing the US/Canadian border was a simple matter of flashing your passport but with the easing up of COVID travel restrictions and the arrival of gift-giving season, it’s time to do a little shopping. If there’s anything positive that has come out of the current pandemic, it’s that consumers and brands alike have had time to rethink the way the fashion industry operates. Trends indicate that, post-lockdown, shoppers are intentionally seeking out more sustainable, eco-conscious brands that put the environment first. The three R’s of reduce, reuse, and recycle now find themselves in the company of concepts like buying less but investing in higher quality pieces with staying power, or being able to trace the origin of a fashion item, for example, from sheep to shearer to knitting mill to store. If you’re travelling north this season or just looking to order some sustainable pieces online, these are five Canadian brands to keep an eye out for — because fast fashion is so last season.
Known for crafting well-priced luxury wool items (as seen on Hollywood celebs and British royals alike) LINE invested deeply in sustainability this fall with a 2021 sweater collection made from recycled wool. The three-piece collection includes a cozy turtleneck and two ribbed mock neck sweaters that are soft to the touch and sleek in appearance — you’d never know that they were made using recycled material. To top it off, the label is donating 10% of sales to support the wool industry — a renewable resource that, thanks to new innovations, is making waves beyond fashion in the worlds of art and architecture.
For those heading somewhere warm this winter there’s Vancouver-based Londré, the sustainable swimwear line that creates sexy, minimalist mix-and-match beach wear from recycled plastic bottles. The company has collected nearly 200,000 of them, saving them from becoming stranded at sea and transforming them into fashion made for the sea. Their manufacturing process uses recycled water and they regularly support causes near and dear to them like Amazon Watch and The Ocean Cleanup Project.
What do you do with a worn-out puffer jacket? If it’s a Tentree, you just compost it. Tentree makes all kinds of stylish outerwear ranging from parkas to raincoats, spending their downtime planting trees — the company is responsible for reforesting around 12,000 football fields worth of terrain by planting 10 trees for every item sold (now you know where the name comes from). Best of all, their items are made to last, so a new Tentree jacket, made from recycled materials, has a long way to go before it gets to the compost pile.
ça va de soi
Along with LINE, Montreal designers ça va de soi contributed to high-end retailer Holt Renfrew’s 2021 wool capsule collection, highlighting the best in sustainable fashion cross-country. “Wool is the most sustainable of all of the natural fibres,” says Matthew J. Rowe, Canada’s Campaign for Wool CEO, “by choosing wool you are not only choosing a wonderful multi-property garment or piece of furnishing but something that is good for the planet.” The label makes beautiful, lasting wool basics for men and women and offers merino wraps that double as gorgeous throws a their contribution to the capsule collection. The lightweight knits come in colors ranging from winter white to eye-catching teal and make the ultimate luxe Christmas gift. Hint, hint.
With WFH continuing to be an option for many of us, Free Label makes it possible to up your sweats-and-t-shirt game thanks to their cute and comfortable pieces — think leggings with a twist or bras that can totally pass as tops. Founded in 2015, the hyper-local label has Vancouver offices just 10 minutes from their factories and cites ethical production practices as one of their top priorities. The natural fibres (like lyocell, Supima cotton, linen and bamboo) that go into their clothing are milled in Toronto and come shipped to you in compostable packaging.