Canadian demand for ethical clothing is growing as more people become aware of the fast fashion industry's harmful environmental and social impacts. It's encouraging to see that some Canadian consumers are paying attention to the importance of sustainable fashion. According to Lyst, a fashion technology company, searches for sustainable fashion in Canada surged by an impressive 37% in 2020, indicating a growing interest in environmentally-friendly clothing options. Moreover, nearly half of Canadian consumers (49%) agreed that they actively seek companies that support environmental protection, while 46% of respondents stated that they intentionally purchased more biodegradable and eco-friendly products. These statistics reflect a positive shift in consumer behaviour towards more conscious and responsible choices, demonstrating that a significant portion of the population is becoming increasingly mindful of their fashion choices' impact on the environment.
With over 100 billion garments produced annually, it's alarming to learn that approximately 87% of these end up in landfills or incinerators, contributing to massive waste and pollution. Shockingly, only 1% of discarded clothing is recycled, exacerbating the problem. The fashion industry's heavy reliance on toxic dyes and non-organic cotton farming further depletes natural resources, harms ecosystems, and endangers people's and animals' health. The impact on climate change is significant, with the apparel industry responsible for 4% of global greenhouse gas emissions, equivalent to the combined emissions of Germany, France, and the U.K. unchecked; this figure is projected to reach 26% by 2050. Using petroleum-based synthetic fibres like polyester contributes to this problem, as both production and washing release harmful microplastics into the environment.
The dire consequences of fast fashion extend beyond the environment to the exploitation of factory garment workers, particularly in developing countries. Low wages, unsafe working conditions, and child labour are rampant, with the industry being a significant contributor to modern slavery. Despite the urgency to address these issues, the fashion industry remains largely unregulated.
Thankfully, there is a growing movement for ethical and sustainable fashion, with rising demand for transparent and environmentally responsible brands. As consumers in Canada and worldwide become more conscious of their choices, the need for ethical clothing increases. Supporting sustainable brands and opting for recycled or ethically produced garments are steps towards reducing the industry's negative impact on people and the planet. By advocating for better regulation, embracing circularity, and making conscious choices, Canadians can help.
At Grace + Sparrow we lean away from fast fashion because of its detrimental impact on the environment, exploitative labour practices, and overall lack of sustainability. The fast fashion industry's massive production and rapid turnover of garments lead to excessive waste and pollution, contributing to climate change and environmental degradation. Additionally, the often low-cost prices of fast fashion items can hide the actual human cost of their production, with factory workers subjected to unfair wages and unsafe working conditions. We support brands that prioritize ethical and sustainable practices, valuing the well-being of the planet and the people involved in the production process. By making mindful purchasing decisions and investing in quality, long-lasting pieces, we aim to contribute to a more responsible and positive fashion industry that respects social and environmental aspects.
We're excited to share these incredible Canadian brands with you, each bringing their unique flair and style to the fashion scene! Get ready to fall in love with:
- A woman owned, 100% Canadian clothing brand. You'll love all their staple pieces and continue to reach for them through the seasons. Feel good that they're made from start to finish in Canada.
You can find these styles here:
Betty x Bow - A woman owned Canadian clothing brand local to Ottawa. Betty x Bow brings vintage and feminine flair to their pieces. Their styles are what you need to complete your capsule wardrobe.
Tangente - Woman owned and local to Ottawa Ontario Clothing brand featuring easy to wear pieces that compliment every body. A great clothing brand to add to your closet for casual or business wear.
EMK Everyday - This Canadian, woman owned clothing brand based in Winnepeg, MB combines comfort, ease and sophistication. You'll feel like you're in your loungewear but look like you're heading to the office.
Caracol - A collection of trendy jewelry and accessories. Based in Montreal, QC
Barbay's - A Pembroke, Ontario based hair accessories brand that you're going to LOVE. Trendy pieces alongside classic staples.
Yoga Jeans - Unbelievably comfortable jeans that move with you, perfect for embracing both fashion and functionality.
You can also keep UTD with our Canadian Brands here
(Fashion's Greenwashing Problem: How Canadians Shoppers May Be Misled by Eco Claims by Megan Robinson, Global News)
(Consumers opinions on statements about shopping sustainability in Canada in March 2021,
Published by T. Ozbun
, May 2, 2022)
(Fashion for the Earth, earthday.org)