I started 2020 off with the goal of sticking to a no/low buy until April. For me, that meant: buying no newly manufactured clothing, and low amounts of secondhand/vintage clothing.
I’ll be sharing my experience, but in short, I didn’t really find it hard to commit to. I had some strategies in place that really helped me, and I rarely felt tempted to go back to Zara or J.Crew.
I absolutely love vintage shopping, as well as the re-commerce brands I’ve been giving all my business to. But I also think an important part of supporting sustainable fashion is buying from brands that make a positive difference in the world with what they’re creating.
Below I’ve rounded up and categorized some sustainable/ethical/slow fashion brands for you to check out – I’ve tried to include some Canadian brands as well (to support our makers, but also, paying for duties is a b*tch).
Next time you find yourself browsing online at Zara, perhaps switch over and explore one of these stores instead 🙂 The price points might be higher (in some instances, they’ll actually be comparable), but the quality and craftsmanship are just so much better.
“We make basics ethically in Canada, for people who are fed up with fast fashion, so that they can enjoy a conscious wardrobe built on timeless basics.”
I know that higher prices are a barrier for many who first look into sustainable fashion, but Franc’s prices are more economical than many other brands I’ve researched.
Check out their “Last Call” section for some excellent deals – my pick would be the striped box mockneck top. If you watched my 12×12 capsule wardrobe video, you’ll know that I think a striped turtleneck/mockneck is a staple!
“At Kotn, we believe that traceability—the knowledge of where a product came from, who made it, how, and when—shouldn’t be a luxury, but a standard. That’s why we built Kotn from the ground up, working directly with every step of our supply chain, starting with the raw cotton.
Think of it like farm-to-table, but for your clothes.”
That’s a mission I can get behind. I love their simple, clean lines – super easy for layering.
Not so basics
“The use of high quality materials and methods of construction, the flattering cuts and unique vision of Birds has fostered a community of loyal followers. The collection is available in an inclusive size range of 2-18, and customers often remark that the clothing fits in a way they’re not used to, like it was thoughtfully fitted to their bodies.”
Here’s what I love about Birds of North America – so many of the pieces look like the unique novelty garments I used to splurge on at Anthropologie…except these beautiful pieces are truly originals – and made designed and made in Canada.
How stunning would this dress be for a spring/summer wedding?
And this is the perfect first date dress for summer! Add a turtleneck, ankle boots, and red beret for fall 😉
“With the plight of the planet in mind, Eliza is always seeking new ways to be more sustainable and ethical in the design and manufacturing processes. Eliza sources fabrics that are woven in Montreal, and uses deadstock fabric and notions whenever possible. All manufacturing is done in Montreal by local sewers, cutters, and pattern makers.”
This Canadian shop is what whimsical, sustainable fashion dreams are made of! I love the romantic, feminine silhouettes of all of Eliza’s tops, dresses and skirts.
I have to give Azim credit for turning me on to Reigning Champ. I think he was wearing “athleisure” before it was cool, simply because he’s prone to being active and moving around a lot. Reigning Champ has sleek, clean lines, and little details that make all their clothing stand out. Their clothing is designed and handcrafted in Canada.
Patagonia is a brand that I respect so much. They always do the right thing – a characteristic that is so rare in the world of business today. Even if outdoor gear is not your thing, I encourage you to learn more about the brand so you can discover a successful company that isn’t fuelled by profits alone. I recommend listening to this How I Built This episode featuring the company’s founder, Yvon Chouinard.
Case in point: Patagonia was one of the only retailers in the U.S. to cease operations following the coronavirus outbreak, with the safety of their employees in mind – and continued to pay them.
One Stop Shop
Everlane is the darling of the sustainable fashion industry right now. Hundreds, if not thousands, of influencers have done Everlane hauls, try-ons, and reviews on their YouTube channels and Instagram feeds. And for good reason – the company makes sustainable fashion easy and affordable.
Unlike previous brands I’ve mentioned, which tend to specialize in one niche, Everlane carries everything from basics to athleisure to denim to shoes.
They curate “must have” pieces, including “The 40 hour flat” and “The ’90s cheeky straight jean” – clothing that is simple to style and looks great.
What I love about Vetta is their unique shop setup – they encourage their customers to shop by capsule, so that they have endless outfit options using just a few pieces. They have personalized capsules (The Elegant Capsule, The Edgy Capsule, The Minimal Capsule, etc), and offer discounts when bundling items.
This is the perfect shop for the conscious consumer who wants getting dressed to be easy, but still cares about how she looks.
Shoes and Accessories
Omg I absolutely ADORE the shoes and accessories that this brand makes.
The shoes and bags are chic as hell, and the Canadian company is run on a transparent pricing model (similar to Everlane). Truly delightful.
“M.Gemi is our love letter to Italian craftsmanship—from the pride that’s taken in making something by hand to the joy of owning a little piece of that magic. Beautiful shoes are just the beginning.
We are committed to partnering with small artisanal workshops across Italy. All of our shoes are handmade by families who have been honing their craft for generations.”
M.Gemi is affordable luxury at its finest. Their shoes are of top notch quality, and can easily be compared to designer footwear.
Given the current crisis in Italy, I was especially touched by the founder’s letter (here). I am in awe of how Italy has persevered through this trying time, and how they have remained hopeful and find moments of joy.
I’d love to know if you have any favourite sustainable brands that you support! Leave me a comment with your recommendations, and I’ll be sure to check them out.
As always, thank you so much for reading xox