If you're looking for an ethical alternative to big box fashions, these Canadian designers are making clothes that look good and are good for the environment and for your conscience

If you're looking for an ethical alternative to big box fashions, these Canadian designers are making clothes that look good and are good for the environment and for your conscience

Sure it's easy to buy clothing that's cheap and disposable from the ubiquitous big box retailers, but if you're after something a little more local, a litte more unique, plus eco-friendly and sweatshop-free, Canadian designers are delivering with clothing lines made locally from sustainable materials.

These designers believe it’s time fashion took a step forward in reducing its carbon footprint and producing under fair and safe working conditions.

Two Birds Apparel

Two Birds Apparel

Two Birds Apparel debuted its mostly bamboo and organic cotton clothing in 2013, all produced in Canada. This simple line includes your basic tee and fitted dresses in a few hues, along with urban eyewear made from reclaimed wood.

But it doesn't stop there. Two Birds uses bike couriers for its deliveries, hired from TurnAround Couriers who recruit at-risk youth, giving them a chance to gain skills and income.

It's also created a clothing recycling program. So when you’re tired of your garment, or it’s come to its end, Two Birds Apparel will pay to have it shipped back and will use the garment to make new clothes for donation to those in need.

Dear Pony
Credit: Dear Pony

Dear Pony

Tracy Fillion creates her handmade pieces in her home studio in Nelson, BC. She uses primarily sustainable and organic materials in this feminine clothing line.

Fillion's designs have a soft look to them, with muted colours and uncomplicated silhouettes. She uses simple prints of birds, flowers and branches on many of her dresses, tops and totes.

And not only does she produce accessories to go with your new top, but Dear Pony also has a small line of home accessories, like its Love Birds Ottoman.

Adhesif Clothing

Adhesif Clothing

Adhesif Clothing Company makes one-of-a-kind pieces from vintage and sustainable fabrics. Its vintage flare, created by designer Melissa Ferreira, ensures fabrics are given new life.

All garments are locally produced in Vancouver under Ferreira’s “waste not, want not” approach.

You can find clothing with a throw-back '40s feel, with lace tops, velvet dresses and burnt orange blazers. Many of Ferreira's designs have two to three fabrics that make up one piece.

These vintage pieces are all unique, giving you the chance to wear a fabric that would have otherwise been forgotten.

Lilikoi Clothing

Lilikoi Clothing

Lilikoi is the brainchild of Nelson-based designer Barbara Boswell, who believes in creating beautiful clothing for women. All her designs are cut, printed and sewn by Canadians.

The Lilikoi brand uses bamboo and organically grown cotton and linen in its clothes wherever possible, and thoroughly researches the source of the fabrics, assuring they are produced in quality working conditions.

Each print is an original drawing by a local designer, transferred onto silk screen and used in limited production runs to ensure a uniqueness in each piece.

Abstract flower motives adorn many of Boswell's creations, and most of the line's tops and dresses have a deep V-neckline or are cut straight accross the shoulder blades.

Miik
Credit: Miik/ Miik

Miik

Designed, milled and crafted in Toronto, Miik uses organically farmed bamboo to make the rayon for its clothes, and many of the chemicals used in the production process are recycled and re-used to reduce pollution.

Miik's clothing line contains virtually no printed fabrics. Instead, the designs pop with rich colours like royal blue and purple, and flattering drapping. From wraps to fitted to boxy, there is a silhouette for evey occassion.

When Miik’s garments are finished and ready for shipping, they’re packaged in paper, not plastic.

The company is all for promoting sustainability, so if you’re a customer, look in your inbox for brand updates instead of in your mailbox.

Nicole Bridger

Nicole Bridger

Using ethically sourced materials, Nicole Bridger’s creations are simple and feminine. Ninety per cent of her clothing line is made in Vancouver, while the remaining bits are produced in Fair Trade factories overseas.

Bridger's designs are flowy and layered. The silky fabric doesn't sit tight on the body, but falls beautifully around it. Her dresses are long and boxy and her pants straight and loose.

Even the tiny details are eco-friendly: Tagua Nuts from palm trees instead of plastic buttons, cotton labels, and hangtags made completely of post-consumed paper.

Visit the flagship store in Vancouver and you’ll witness just how environmentally conscious this brand is, with its repurposed wood shelves and natural paint.

La Canadienne

La Canadienne

If you’re looking for a fantastic pair of leather shoes, Montreal-based La Canadienne is the go-to brand. Its products are made in its Montreal factory with environmentally friendly dyes and protective agents in addition to recycled materials for its shoeboxes.

The hides are by-products of the food industry, using materials that would otherwise be thrown in the dump. To ensure the highest quality, each shoe is inspected before being packaged.

La Canadienne's footwear tends toward chunky designs, with thick heels in black, tan and caramel brown.

7 Canadian Brands to Add to Your Wardrobe