Now more than ever, Canadian fashion brands are making headlines, as they give the stylish set something to proudly wear – and talk about. But it’s one thing to produce clothing that becomes editorial staples, makes its way to the hands of celebrities, and inspires double tap-worthy social media posts. It’s another to complement design talent with do-good initiatives, taking fashion brands well beyond their clothing and accessories offerings.
Today’s savvy shopper wants to direct their hard-earned dollars to ethical labels that are making a difference in society. A label’s backstory and values are now just as important as the design elements. In recent years, a handful of notable Canadian fashion brands have become celebrated success stories for both their sustainable and easy-on-the-eyes creations and the difference they make in supporting important causes – from the environment to mental health.
Here are five of our favourites.
As its name suggests, Calgary-based Local Laundry defines itself by being proudly Canadian – from its manufacturers and garments to its employees and customers. Front and centre to the casualwear brand – which produces high-quality crewnecks, hoodies, t-shirts, and toques – is a sense of community. This is reflected in important collaborations with the socially and environmentally-minded, sharing stories from the community, and giving back through local charities. The company is on a mission to donate $1,000,000 to local charities by 2030.
Toronto-based Peace Collective first hit the scene in 2014 with its famous “Home is Toronto,” gear, becoming a quick go-to for in-the-know loungewear lovers looking to show off their hometown pride. When shopping the Peace Collective collection, customers are investing in pieces that are conversation-worthy in more ways than one. Each garment purchased gives back to vulnerable communities through partnerships that help causes like food insecurity, mental health research, and refugee aid. With a mission to donate $1,000,000 by 2030, the company has already raised $164,937.
Toronto-based accessory brand Zvelle designs its timeless shoes and bags to become long-lasting closet staples. The design magic happens at a Toronto atelier; then, Zvelle’s collections are produced in Italy, where the company works closely with established and family-run factories that shine in the sustainability department. Founded in 2015 by Elle AyoubZedeh, Zvelle has a mission to change the narratives about women and do good in the process. Most recently, Zvelle donated all of its profits between March 24 and 26 to grassroots charities in Ukraine.
Transparency is the name of the game at Franc, an ethical Canadian-made fashion business that produces beloved basics for all body types. As a certified B Corporation with nothing to hide, the brand meets the highest verified standards of social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability. The antithesis of fast fashion, everything about business is planet-friendly, from the clothing dye to its plastic-free packaging and sustainably-made marketing materials. Furthermore, Franc donates its seconds, samples, and overstocks to the YWCA Toronto to support females feeling violence.
Vancouver-based sustainable swimwear brand LONDRĖ produces unique and flattering pieces with the lowest possible impact on the planet. Their timeless and versatile swimwear is made from recycled polyester. To date, LONDRĖ has recycled 750,000 plastic bottles off of beaches and streets to create their long-lasting swimwear. Not only are the suits recyclable, but all water used to create them is also able to be reused. Furthermore, LONDRĖ raises awareness and funds for women’s health and environmental initiatives that have contributed to the removal of 4,500 lbs of garbage off of BC’s coast.