A new crop of West Coast fashion companies is rejecting fast and flimsy in favour of stylish eco-friendly clothing that lasts.
For all of the style and comforts the clothing sector affords us, a cursory review of its climate impact reveals some ugly and uncomfortable facts. For instance, that the fashion industry produces 10 percent of humanity’s greenhouse gas emissions and a staggering 20 percent of all wastewater. On top of that, the average number of new pieces people are buying each year continues to climb — with 85 percent of all textiles winding up in landfills each year. Fast fashion is, simply put, a disaster for the environment. Thankfully, a new generation of sustainable brands is popping up, armed with innovative solutions, better business practices, tightly curated collections, and a whole lot of eco-education for their customers. Here are three B.C.-based companies to watch.
Home base: Victoria, B.C.
The gist: Anián produces a line of timeless, all-weather garments “inspired by nature.” The company recently transitioned to using entirely recycled natural-fibre textiles salvaged from landfills.
Selling points: Between 80 and 90 pounds of clothing are thrown away, per person, every year. With this in mind, Anián spent the last six years building a relationship with an Italian-based textile-recycling company to make resilient, chic outerwear straight from the discard pile. A good example is Anián’s use of recycled wool, which is much easier to care for than virgin wool, and demands significantly less water, energy and, yes, methane to produce.
Stand-out piece: The classic Buffalo Plaid Shirt, available in three colours, $195.
Home base: Vancouver, B.C
The gist: An “earth-first” line of comfy essentials and accessories for adults and kids, Tentree commits to planting — you guessed it — 10 trees with each purchase.
Selling points: So far, the company’s tally is at an impressive 50 million trees — it has reforested the equivalent of 12,000 football fields of land. The goal: one billion trees by 2030. A Tentree sweatshirt also uses approximately 75 percent less water to produce than your average competitor. The brand favours sustainable fabrics like Tencel (a wood-pulp fibre), organic cotton, and hemp. The Vancouver company also partnered with GreenStep — a sustainability assessment firm — to create EcoLog, a rolling analysis of the environmental impact of each of Tentree’s forthcoming product lines.
Stand-out piece: French Terry Hoodie Dress, $98.
Home base: Victoria, B.C
Founded: 2017 (formerly Sitka)
The gist: Ecologyst is a direct-to-consumer line of 100-percent-biodegradable clothing pieces — from toques to henleys to socks — that are guaranteed for life.
Selling points: Frustrated with the garment industry’s huge contribution to plastic pollution in the form of polyester and petroleum-based fibres, founder and CEO Rene Gauthier overhauled his existing brand, Sitka, in 2017. Now partnered with 1 Per Cent for the Planet and manufacturing in North America (instead of Guangzhou), Ecologyst doesn’t just produce well-designed unisex separates from luxurious merino wool and Tencel, the brand also creates short films, offering web visitors an opportunity to learn about sustainable makers and other environmental intel.
Stand-out piece: The Anorak Jacket, $325
Made in Canada
Podcast | Nov, 2023
Episode 44: Kirk Havercroft, Sustainable Blue
Did you know that over a billion people rely on our oceans as their primary food source? However, our sea…
Podcast | Nov, 2023
Episode 43: Michelle Li, Clever Carbon
The average person in Canada produces an equivalent of 14.2 tonnes of CO2 yearly. In the United States, the number…
Podcast | Nov, 2023
Episode 42: Marc St-Onge, Smallfood
Deeply concerned with those challenges, Marc St-Onge decided to look for solutions by creating a series of global platforms for…