The complications of thinking made in Canada clothing brands are always the best option…
Canadians love to discover locally made products and who could possible argue with that? Supporting local businesses and reducing the carbon footprint seems like a no-brainer. However the reality of having something made in Canada is a bit more complicated then it might originally seem.
Being made in Canada doesn’t necessarily mean it’s being made more ethically or sustainably.
Let’s put the obvious aside just in case you’ve been living in a bubble – buying a $10 tank top at your local mall is never going to be a good choice. If the store is selling it for $10 then they bought it for $5….and that $5 has to cover fabric, labour, shipping, among many other variables.
Let’s assume it goes almost without saying that buying cheap clothing from large retailers is never going to be ethical or sustainable. It’s called Mass Producing, Fast Fashion, etc and if you really want to delve into this further just check out The True Cost on Netlix or Youtube.
Where it gets a bit trickier is to assume that ‘all’ made in Canada clothing is the superior option.
Three things to consider about buying local fashion:
1 ~ is the made in Canada clothing manufacturer you’re looking at using fabrics made in Canada as well, or using all imported supplies? And….does this matter to you? For some people any amount of ‘Canadian’ in a clothing brand is great, while for others, these details are important (note there are rules set out by the Canadian competition bureau about using the terms Made in Canada and Product of Canada)
2 ~ is the Canadian brand using ethical and sustainable practices? Just because something is homegrown, it doesn’t mean they are the bee’s knees. While laws ensure a certain level of conduct, it’s not a given that being made in Canada equates ethical and sustainable business practices – so if this is important to you, be sure to find out about the clothing manufacturer you have in mind (note that there are a number of AMAZING Canadian brands that are ‘all that’ – just don’t assume that every single one is just because they’re Canadian).
3 ~ is the Canadian clothing brand you’re looking at ‘not’ made in Canada, but made elsewhere using stringent ethical and sustainable practices? Some Canadian brands choose not to produce from within Canada but still adhere to very strict guidelines about their supply chain, materials, and more. These companies supply quality jobs to those in less fortunate countries and many of them are Certified B Corp Companies (note more on what a Certified B Corporation is in another blog but for now suffice to say it means ‘really high quality ethics’).
So is buying Made in Canada always the best option?
Often it is. Just keep in mind that being made in Canada doesn’t always mean it’s ethically made, and that being made elsewhere doesn’t always mean it’s made in a sweatshop. Educate yourself on what to look for, figure out what’s important to you, and try whenever possible to support local Canadian businesses and ethical practices.
Interested in Sustainable Fashion? Read More: Do you take your fashion fast or slow?
Did you know you can discover new Canadian clothing brands on our website and filter by (among many other filters):
~ Made in Canada
~ Canadian Company but made elsewhere
~ Foreign company with a location in Canada (so you can buy in CAD$)
Discover new hidden gem brands for made in Canada women’s clothing, made in Canada outdoor wear, made in Canada jewelry, and much more!
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