Doesn’t shopping ethically just feel so darn good?
And having a slew of great brands at your fingertips makes it uber convenient to know where to shop.
Working as a designer in ethical fashion has connected me to some incredible makers and businesses in Canada. For those of you living across the pond, here are by far my favourite changemakers and fashion brands – all based in my home country of Canada!
Ethical and Eco-Fashion Brands Made in Canada
Peggy Sue Collection
Peggy Sue’s passion for handmade Canadian luxury is expressed in each one of her intricate designs. The designer believes that fashion can be used as a force for good to improve human lives, the land and the byproduct of the animals involved. Every one of her textiles begins as raw fiber sourced from a North American farm, spun in a North American mill and is then woven, knitted or felted by a North American artisan. The cotton used is either organically grown, sourced from North America, or upcycled denim. Its wool is locally sourced from Canadian farms and each garment is made locally in Toronto. I have been so inspired by this company as they continually put forth items that are thoughtful and gorgeous, without compromising their integrity towards the social and global environment.
Visit peggysuecollection.com to learn more.
Canadian streetwear designer Stevie Crowne has been killing it lately. He most recently showcased his “Underground Monarch” collection at Fashion Art Toronto in April. His collections are incredibly unique and edgy, and features recycled high-quality vintage and thrift styles. Each garment undergoes a complete 180-degree transformation. Crowne uses methods such as fabric dying, hardware embellishment, hemming, patchwork, embossing, alterations and collaborating with other artists to offer one-of-a-kind and bespoke creations.
To browse Stevie Crowne’s collections, visit steviecrowne.com.
Spirit of Vera
Created with a passion for craft and silversmithing, Vera Audette launched Spirit of Vera in 2014 after a trip to Southern Mexico inspired her to start her own silversmithing business. Audette designs and handmakes a line of minimalist sterling silver jewelry made from recycled silver. Her mission to encompass sustainability in every single aspect of her business from her suppliers to her production all the way through to offering a lifetime warranty is truly commendable. I am usually repping at least one or two of her rings on the daily as they are so minimal and go with everything.
To browse Spirit of Vera’s range, click here.
Anything upcycled takes my heart and that’s why I love Preloved so much. Its collections are designed and handmade locally, all created with a mix of reclaimed vintage and deadstock fabrics that would otherwise end up in landfill. The funny thing is, founder Julia Grieve says she simply began creating one-of-a-kind clothing and then saving the planet just kind of happened from there. Over the past 20 years, Preloved have rescued over 1,000,000 sweaters from ending up in landfills!
Check out the unique range here: getpreloved.com
Although not a fashion brand, I totally had to throw in my absolute favourite skincare and beauty brand, Sudsatorium. All products are locally handmade and cruelty-free featuring zero animal by-products and suitable for vegans. The brand uses the very best fairtrade essential oils and ingredients. Suds is killer for making the most lovely beauty products that smell and look so good, you will almost want to eat it. The branding and creative names are all so on point too! I have tried almost every single one of the brand’s products, from soap, to bath soak to lip tints – and find them all to be divine. I’d totally encourage you to test something out the next time you’re looking to try some non-toxic beauty.
To browse Sudsatorium natural beauty products, visit their Etsy shop here.
After Tuesday even the calendar goes WTF . If Hump Day Eve has you feeling a little down, don’t frown; take a relaxing bath instead ?? . For those times when you want to keep your bath time a little more 'adult', without all the bubbles, but still want it full of beautiful, skin-loving organic goodness, we have you covered with our range of bath soaks . With ten unique scents to choose from, these bottles of awesomeness will make it awfully hard for you to get out of the tub as you soak in their skin soothing goodness . Be sure to bring a bottle of red for hydration and a handful of snacks too because you’re going be in there a while . Find us online at SUDSATORIUM.com (link in bio) and at our upcoming popup markets, including: . Feb 18: @leslievilleflea 11-5pm at the Fermenting Cellar, 28 Distillery Lane @distilleryto #LeslievilleFlea . March 1: @harahouse_ Launch Party 7-11pm at Cambria Gallery, 91 Parliament St, Toronto. Free admission . Post a photo of you and your new SUDSATORIUM products using hashtag #MeMyselfAndSUDS (don’t forget to tag us!) and be entered to win our monthly draw for a $50 online gift card
Paint your pout every shade under the rainbow with our collection of naturally pigmented vegan organic lip tints . Whether you have your eyes set on an everyday red or your tastes run a little bit more on the wild side (yellow or blue lips, anyone?), instead of subjecting your lips to questionable ultramarines and lab produced oxides and micas, we chose to formulate our line with plant pigments derived from 100% pure organic fruits and vegetables, including beets, elderberries and purple carrot for the ultimate in clean cosmetics . Oh, did we mention that all of our lip tints are wonderfully flavoured with essential oils too, for lips that taste as sweet as your soul. We'll give you a minute to pick your jaw up off the floor . . . Post a photo of you and your favourite SUDSATORIUM products using hashtag #MeMyselfAndSUDS (don’t forget to tag us!) and be entered to win our monthly draw for a $50 shopping spree . Find us online at SUDSATORIUM.com (link in bio) and at our upcoming popup markets, including: . Jan 21: @thetrinitybellwoodsflea 10-5pm at @thegreathall #trinitybellwoodsflea . Feb 18: @leslievilleflea 11-5pm at the Fermenting Cellar, 28 Distillery Lane @distilleryto #LeslievilleFlea
Created to fix the problem that women buy garments to wear only once, Boro launched a peer-to-peer clothing rental marketplace for women to list, discover, and borrow clothing from stylish closets of other local women in Toronto. Boro brings life back to these designer pieces while giving their lenders an opportunity to make money. Customers also benefit because they get to look amazing, save money, and reduce waste – all part of the circular economy! It’s a huge win for all. I love their slogan to: Rent the outfit, own the moment!
Browse and borrow here boroit.ca.
Artisella‘s mission to turn off mindless consumption is something we’re absolutely behind. Working with many contemporary fashion designers, they have created a conscious shopping hub of consciously-made fashion with a classic style. They source sustainable fashion and jewelry items that are made locally, fair trade, eco-conscious and re-use materials. It’s so easy to shop consciously when you can access ethical platforms like this one!
To browse, visit shopartisella.com.
Canadian Ethical and Eco-Fashion Brands Made Offshore
After travelling to Dhaka, Bangladesh shortly after the Rana Plaza Factory collapse, founders Yana and Eric were inspired by the tragedy and injustice to create a fashion line with the ambition to change the world. Thus their brand, TAMGA Designs focusses on vibrant and premium quality clothing from the world’s natural and sustainable materials, created by Indonesian workers who are provided dignified conditions and are treated with respect. Their signature prints are all hand drawn and printed on eco-friendly fabrics, such as Lenzing Modal, sourced from sustainably-grown beech wood forests. Their ‘Forest Friendly Fashion’ and commitment to the biodiversity of the Indonesian rainforests are right up our alley.
To shop, visit tamgadesigns.com.
Cambio & Co.
Fine, fair and Filipino! That pretty much says it all. We love this brand’s strong core values to showcase contemporary conscious fashion with a Filipino soul. All designed and handcrafted in the Philippines by talented Filipino artisans, Cambio & Co. connects you to their community of artisans giving you the opportunity to make an impact through your purchase. Their passion and commitment to ethical production, respect for culture and women’s empowerment is so evident in everything they do. How can you not feel called to support when you realize that #empowermentisyou?
Shop Cambio & Co here.
Tight-Knit Syria (TKS) is a non-profit organization on a mission to rebuild the lives of Syrian refugees in the Middle East. Founder Dana Kandalaft is beyond passionate in her question to better the lives of women in Syria and Lebanon. She makes it her and her brand’s mission to ensure they have economic rights by providing additional income for their gorgeous hand embroidered accessories. TKS strives to break down barriers for the women to access local markets and connect these women to retailers and wholesalers while preserving their heritage and cultural skill sets passed down from generations. Learn more and support their current Indiegogo campaign here.
Visit tightknitsyria.com to browse their beautiful handmade creations.
Hailing from the foothills of K2 in Northern Pakistan, Zendagi is a modern take on traditional jewelry, effortlessly blending contemporary trends with ethnic patterns. The business works directly with artisans living in remote mountain communities in Gilgit Baltistan in Northern Pakistan to design and craft unique gemstone bracelets, rings, necklaces and earrings. Each of their pieces is handmade by artisans and tells of their story in the remote mountain communities. They also source all natural and luxurious gemstones, making each Zendagi piece so unique and special!
Browse the artisan-made jewelry collection here.
Chic Made Consciously
Last but not least, eco-friendly accessories brand Chic Made Consciously – my own brand! Traveling through Asia back in 2014, I met artisans who were upcycling tires and it completely shifted my perspective and my understanding of what the fashion industry was all about. Since then, I have wanted to help rather than hurt people and the planet in order to create beautiful fashion. So, Chic Made Consciously was born on a mission to shift our consumption habits to those that are more mindful, while creating handmade accessory collections that offer a community of artisans in Bali a sustainable income. We are currently expanding to other materials so stay tuned for our new collection launching mid-July. Upcycled from brass and ethically handmade in Cambodia we are excited to bring you gorgeous and staple accessories that you will love! To stay connected check out our website or sign up for exclusive info on our launch and special perks here.
We love feedback, so please let us know what you think of these Canadian eco-friendly and ethical fashion brands. Share your perspective in the comments and any other awesome Canadian brands you think we should know about!
The curated list is based on the writer’s research and does not fully take into account all ethical considerations that are unique to each individual. Before making a purchase, we encourage you to do your own research paying particular attention to the supply chain and your own particular set of ethics. You can also check out online tools and apps that provide product reviews and brand ratings here.
Title image credit Cambio & Co.