Way before Greta Thunberg, a small Canadian clothing boutique had an interest in changing the world. Yes, our Toronto boutique (and Oakville boutique) had been searching for eco-friendly Canadian fashion for years prior to the Greta Thunberg madness.
It was important to us to sell clothes that were produced under ethical conditions and with quality in mind, so that its lifeline would extend to those receiving it as a hand-me-down.
From what we are learning, there are three facets to eco-friendly fashion. 1) Diverting away from landfill, 2) Chemical usage in production, 3) Water and energy usage in production.
Although we believe that all facets need work, we feel strongest that clothing should be diverted away from landfills. Re-used, re-cycled, and reduced consumption of course.
Buzz words like up-cycled, is what we really relate too. It is the strongest way to divert used clothing away from landfills. The process of cleaning the old clothing uses no more water than dry cleaning or washing our own clothes. The production process does not use extensive chemicals. It is simply providing a new life to an old garment. We shout out brands like Preloved, and Guru (strong designers) that are dedicated to doing this. Using end of line materials that would otherwise end up in landfills is also something our local fashion boutique believes in.
There are brands that recycle old materials. That process takes up water and may use chemicals. However, those successful brands are doing their part to stop the cycle of disposing of old clothing. New brands are starting to emerge like Echoverde. A brand that is recycling polyester. A fabric most people avoid. Regardless, it is one less piece of clothing in the landfill. Like this beautiful oversized cowl neck sweater in the photo below.
When natural fibers are disposed in land fills, they can not completely biodegrade. Buried under fields of rubbish, the biodegrading process is postponed.
Which is why we recommend wearing higher quality clothing that is intended to be worn for more than 1 season. It lasts longer - and even if it is outdated, it can be reused, or thrifted. A dark contrast to fast fashion that has an intention of wear of up to one season. Which means... next stop, landfill. By definition fast fashion means moving from catwalk to stores quickly on a grande level. Only over the past couple of years have people taken notice of what fast fashion truly is - stylish, inexpensive, short term clothing produced in mass.
So what are your options if your clothing gets damaged, or develops holes? If you want your clothing to be recycled because it has irreparable damage, then consider donating it to the Diabetes Association or Value Village. Whatever can not be sold is sent to a recycling facility here in Toronto. Alternatively, look for clothing drives in your community schools. Many of them raise money by collecting clothing for recycling. We also encourage our customers to do a clothing swap. If you would like to host a clothing swap in our Toronto boutique or Oakville boutique, please reach out.
As fashion retailers, we acknowledge that our industry is not perfect. We also recognize that we all need/want new clothes. We as retailers, have two jobs. 1) Providing our customers their fashion wants and needs and 2) Working to strengthen our ailing environment by making choices in our fashion buying to protect it.
We would love to hear your thoughts on fashion and the environment. Please feel free to leave us a comment below.