by Shweta Gandhi
Refine your wardrobe with eco-friendly clothes made from recycled materials designed to help lower your individual carbon footprint. Take notes from these seven sustainable fashion brands born in Canada that are striving to reduce the impact on the environment through their eco-conscious processes while putting the planet and its people first.
Frank And Oak
This Montreal-based sustainable fashion brand is a certified B corporation on a mission to deliver the “highest standards of verified social and environmental performance.” Seventy-five per cent of their womenswear and menswear designs are created through sustainable processes using eco-friendly materials that have a low impact on the planet, people, and wildlife. From recycled fabrics (cotton, nylon, wool) and post-consumer recycled fabrics (cotton, paper) to new innovations (SeaCell™ and LENZING™ ECOVERO™ Viscose), Frank And Oak are paving the way for a sustainable future.
The brand also uses innovative new technologies like fade resistance that keeps black jeans black for longer; Circular denim™ created from post-consumer recycled waste and “dip-less” processes that save water, energy, and dye.
Founded in Vancouver, tentree touts itself as a vegan clothing brand. The sustainable clothing brand is B Corp certified and is renowned for its carbon-neutral tree planting policy — they plant 10 trees for every purchase made, with over 68 million trees planted to date. They’re currently on a mission to plant one billion trees by 2030.
Using ethical manufacturing practices, the brand crafts sustainable wardrobe essentials made with the lowest carbon footprint. For example, a tentree sweatshirt uses 75 per cent less water. Their partnerships with global charities to plant trees and rehabilitate natural ecosystems has resulted in the removal of millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and reforesting over 5,000 hectares of land.
Founded in Toronto, Kotn is a sustainable fashion brand that specifically uses Egyptian cotton produced in the Nile Delta. The certified B corporation started out with the goal to create a t-shirt that didn’t compromise on quality, price, or the planet. Today, the brand creates womenswear, menswear, and home collections with natural fibres sourced from small, Egyptian, family-run farms as well as the Better Cotton Initiative.
They deploy recycling measures, waste-limiting tactics, and use only OEKO-TEX® non-toxic certified dyes for their designs. Kotn provides employment by working directly with 2,390 farmers and also partners with a local NGO to fund and build primary schools in the Nile Delta and Faiyum in Egypt.
Matt & Nat
This Montreal-based, luxury, sustainable fashion brand specializes in premium quality vegan products that are recycled and cruelty-free. Founded in 1995, the brand designs timeless clothing and accessories that use eco-friendly and biodegradable materials. They also experiment with different recycled materials (nylon, cardboard, rubber, cork and now windshield resins) as well as fruit skin fibres.
Since 2007, Matt & Nat have used lining made of 100% recycled plastic bottles, with over 9 million plastic bottles recycled annually in their bag manufacturing process. Retailing across Canada, US, UK, Japan, Germany, and Australia, the brand works with fair-trade factories and aims to become fully sustainable by 2023.
Made in Quebec, Oraki works with advanced garment and recycled material technologies to craft loungewear and sportswear for women using only recycled and regenerated materials. Founded in 2015, their line is 100 per cent vegan and cruelty-free. Each product is designed in limited quantities with the lowest carbon footprint while creating more circular supply chains. For example, an Oraki sweatshirt uses 85 per cent less energy and 20 per cent less water while generating 75 per cent less carbon dioxide emissions as compared to man-made fabrics.
The sustainable fashion brand works with yard-spinning factories to develop innovative fabrics using yarns of recycled cotton, regenerated nylon, and recycled polyester. With a focus on increasing longevity of the garments and respect for the people and the planet, Oraki also contributes to families in Quebec, Canada, to support the economy through every purchase made.
Sewn in Toronto, Encircled designs knitwear, outerwear and sportswear for women using sustainable materials and low-impact dyes. Established in 2012, the brand is both B Corp certified as well as OEKO-TEX® 100 certified. Over 55 per cent of fabrics are knitted and dyed locally.
Encircled focuses on creating quality pieces made to last in Canadian factories that pay their employees fair wages.
Nomads Hemp Wear
Born in British Columbia, Nomads Hemp Wear champions the use of organic fabrics — especially hemp, organic cotton and bamboo — in its womenswear and menswear collections. Launched in 2000, the homegrown label now retails globally while keeping its environmentally sustainable lifestyle intact.
Their love for hemp as a carbon-negative crop is unequivocal, and for good reason — growing hemp requires no chemicals or pesticides, it needs little weeding, and it has soil-enriching properties. They also practice fair-trade policies by employing fair labour and showcase transparency in their manufacturing process.