by Martin & Lisa Pedersen, Ecotopia Naturals –
It’s like the world hit a giant reset button in 2020. Now it’s time to take a deep breath and decide how we are collectively going to move forward. It is a great time to reassess our buying habits, as consumers will dictate how the economy will look in the future. It is encouraging to hear all the calls to support local, but it may not be obvious that this can extend to the clothes you wear.
Fashion is a massive global industry that has evolved through the demand for inexpensive clothing that can react quickly to new trends. You can easily go down a rabbit hole by looking at the problems caused by our current obsession with “Fast Fashion.” From poor working standards and inadequate pay to being one of the world’s largest polluters, saying the fashion industry is flawed is a bit of an understatement. For many it seems like we have conceded that this is just the way clothing is produced, but many Canadian entrepreneurs have decided there can be a better way. Finding and supporting such clothing can benefit the consumer, the community and the environment.
There can be a sense of pride in wearing stylish, well-made, unique clothing that has a Canadian story interwoven within the fabric. Instead of clothes designed for generic consumers around the world, you can get fashion chosen specifically for the climate, sensibilities and styles of our community. With large-scale production there is a disconnect between seller, designer and production. As store owners, we frequently talk to designers and production leads and relay suggestions and comments from customers. Try doing that with Amazon.
The benefits buying local bring to the community should not be understated. Using your purchasing power locally means your money stays and is reinvested in your community. Small businesses are large donators to local charity and causes and that is true within the local fashion industry. Growth can add unique jobs and continue to diversify the economy by utilizing the skills and passions of extremely talented locals. You can feel good about wearing local and supporting the expansion of the industry from farm to rack within B.C. and Canada.
One of the main driving factors of Canadian clothing companies is finding a way to produce wonderful clothing while minimizing the real environmental concerns in fashion. Not only do we have higher regulations and standards to uphold, but entrepreneurs see real value in using environmentally friendly fabrics and processes that utilize less water, fewer chemicals, and use renewable resources. The fashion industry should not be one of the world’s largest polluters and deciding to wear fabrics with a lower environmental impact can make a real difference. Choosing quality clothing that lasts and supporting local thrift stores are also positive steps to take.
There are so many reasons during this time to stop into your locally owned clothing store and strike up a conversation about where your clothes come from. Look around and you may be surprised how affordable these long lasting, high quality fashions can be. We have hit that reset button, so it’s time to connect to our community.