Happy Sunday, friends! I hope you’re having a lovely Canada Day weekend. The weather has been so beautiful here in Toronto, I hope it’s been the same for you wherever you may be! Last night my roommate, Tanya, and I took a trip to Shops At Don Mills, an outdoor mall here in Toronto. Summer nights are my favourite and seeing as I’m not home to have a campfire, I enjoyed the beautiful weather while shopping around the mall! Just like all of you, I love shopping at popular stores you can find in the mall such as Forever 21 and H&M. Even though these stores offer super cute clothes and accessories, their manufacturing process goes against many of my personal values. I like to consider myself a social activist, someone who is set out to change the world in any way she can. Of course I do this through recycling and saving energy by turning off unnecessary lights in the house, but as a fashion student I think it’s important to create global change through my fashion decisions. The fashion world is ugly when it comes to typical manufacturing processes: things like sweatshop environments, unsafe working conditions, and forced/unfair labour is normal in this industry. However, slowly people have begun trying to change these unethical practises. Sustainable fashion is on the rise and I’m here to share three of my favourite brands that support good causes and are manufactured in ethical factories.
An organization that I’m passionate about is Skate 4 Cancer. Skate 4 Cancer is an organization that “aims to engage youth in cancer prevention through education, awareness and the gathering of a fresh and energized community.” The story started when the founder of S4C, Rob Dyer, skateboarded from L.A. to Toronto to raise awareness for cancer. Since then, S4C has grown so much. They have started a clothing brand where all proceeds go towards hospitals and charities (learn more here). These two crew neck S4C sweaters are the comfiest sweaters that I own. They’re super fuzzy and soft on the inside which keeps me nice and warm once the sun goes down. More styles are available including hoodies, tank tops and t-shirts. There’s also non-clothing merchandise for sale like stickers, mugs and hats. Earlier this year, Skate 4 Cancer closed it’s pop up shop that was located on Queen Street West downtown Toronto. They’re also closing up the online shop for a little while too, so get your S4C merchandise while you can! Check out the online shop here, everything is marked down to reasonable prices! Or, if you happen to be going to Warped Tour in Toronto or Montreal, look for the Skate 4 Cancer tent! Just think, you can get quality garments that convey a good vibe message all while fighting against cancer. (Honestly, the positive messages on the garments are my favourite part! My sweaters say “Keep your head up high, beautiful” and “You are so loved”, who wouldn’t smile when they read that!?)
But this only one of many clothing brands that gives back to society. Since discovering Free the Children/Me To We in 2009, I have been very passionate about the Free The Children mission. Not only does this organization help third world countries, it inspires positive personal values. Some of these values include supporting companies that make their clothing in sweatshop free environments, companies that make their clothes responsibly in Canada, and companies that use organic or eco-friendly materials. Me To We Style does all of these things PLUS plants a tree in Africa for every purchase made. Half of Me to We Style profits get donated to the Free The Children social mission which aims to fight poverty in third world countries (learn more here). Me To We Style is located at 224 Carlton Street in Toronto, or you can shop online here. Please check out these clothes! Like S4C, Me To We Style offers great quality and positive messages on their stylish garments.
The last company I want to mention is called TenTree. TenTree is a brand that focuses on environmental issues. For every item purchased, the company will plant 10 trees. They also manufacture their clothing in socially responsible factories (learn more here). What I love most about TenTree is how cute their clothing is! Even though the prices are a little higher, TenTree is a wonderful brand to check out! You can find them at Boathouse or shop online here.
Supporting companies that value social responsibility and sustainable fashion is an easy way to get involved in creating positive change within the world you live. Yes, generally garments manufactured in responsible factories (where the conditions are safe and the workers are paid fair) cost more, but spending this extra money guarantees better quality products and being an active global citizen. If you know of any other socially responsible companies, or companies that put their proceeds toward a good cause, let me know in the comments below!
(P.S. I made Tanya’s dreams come true when I told her I knew how to take a picture that captures moving light. Look how cute she is!)