It’s no secret that fast fashion, although very profitable, is ruining the planet.
CNN reported the fast fashion industry, which includes mega-retailers like Shein and H&M, produces over 100 billion garments a year. This is equal to over 12 garments for every person on Earth.
Fast fashion is poisoning water supplies, pushing microfibres into the food chain and elevating greenhouse gas levels.
The industry is also deforesting the planet and threaten the human rights of factory workers producing these products.
But it doesn’t have to be this way.
Here are 10 Canadian brands offering sustainable, trendy alternatives to fast fashion.
Offering men and women’s basic cotton clothing up to sizes XXL, Kotn is a sustainable and eco-conscious brand based in Toronto, Ont.
Kotn is dedicated to supply chain transparency as a certified B Corporation. This means “they meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose,” according to the B Corporation website.
They work with family-run farms in Portugal and Egypt to ensure “direct trade practices, above fair pay, and safe working conditions,” according to the Kotn website.
For second-hand shoppers, VSP Consignment is the spot for contemporary and rare designer brands.
Shoppers can easily find vintage men and women’s clothing ready to be loved in a new home through their website or their brick-and-mortar stores in Toronto and Vancouver.
Alice + Whittles
When people think of sustainable clothing, they sometimes forget footwear.
Alice + Whittles, based in Toronto, Ont., is focused on reducing waste through the creation and sale of sustainable, traceable and vegan boots and shoes.
Using natural fair trade rubber, reclaimed ocean plastic, recycled PET plastic and vegan water-based glue, all of their products from rain boots to sneakers are ethically produced.
If you’re looking for jewelry, Kind Karma offers handcrafted, ethical goods made from recycled materials.
The brand also provides employment opportunities for at-risk or homeless youth in the Toronto and GTA community. They offer flexible hours to young people healing from trauma or dealing with mental health challenges. Every jewelry purchase also comes with a thank you card, personally signed by the young artisan who created the piece.
Based in Aurora, Ont., Tamga Designs creates bold, colourful clothing made ethically and sustainably abroad.
Tamga ensures their garment workers in Indonesia and Bangladesh are provided with “decent jobs to combat poverty and achieve equitable, sustainable economic growth,” according to their website.
Minnow creates swimwear ranging from XS to XXXL.
An independent label based in Toronto, Minnow makes responsible and trendy made-to-order bathing suits produced by local craftspeople.
According to their website, Minnow “reduces energy usage while minimizing consumption levels,” with garments made from 78 per cent recycled plastic.
Mettamade is an ethical, eco-friendly and size-inclusive fashion retailer based in Hamilton, Ont.
Using ethical and locally sourced supplies, mother and daughter co-owners Carol and Morgan MacDonald have made it their mission to create stylish, comfortable and confidence- boosting garments.
One of their products is the Morgan Jumpsuit, an all-purpose piece made from flexible bamboo spandex.
Ai (pronounced ah-ee, meaning children/daughters in Korean) is a family-run and Toronto-based sustainable fashion brand.
They produce and curate PETA-approved vegan handbags and accessories. All of the products are made in small batches.
The family in charge (Han Lee and her daughters Hannah, Rebekah and Joanna) work with Seoul-based artisans to create and design new luxury pieces.
Ungalli Clothing Co.
Ungalli is a “mission-led and female founded” company based in Thunder Bay, Ont.
They design and create ethically-made garments from 100 per cent recycled and repurposed materials including water bottles, recycled cotton and clothing factory scraps.
Manufactured in Canada, Ungalli also ensures that all workers are “safe, respected, and paid fair wages, ” according to their website.
The women-founded and women-run Horses Atelier brand is best known for their trendy, colourful jumpsuits.
Every garment is sewn in Toronto using naturally sourced fabric from family-owned mills in Japan and Italy.
According to their website, all sewers and seamstresses are paid fair wages in order to support the local economy and empower those making the garments.