As a graduate of a fashion management program, I considered myself to be pretty well-informed in the manufacturing process and life cycle that clothing typically follows. In a global economy, I also knew that the majority of products that Canadians purchase are made overseas, but I had no idea the extent that it covered and how deeply it affects our national economy.
In a recent press release I received, I was stunned to find out that currently less than five per cent of the apparel worn in Canada is actually made here. Compare that with 30 years ago when approximately 70 per cent of apparel worn in Canada was manufactured here, and that stat becomes even more shocking.
So what’s a Canadian shopper to do? One way to change these statistics is to become more informed on where your clothing comes from, and making a conscious effort to support Canadian brands and our home-grown fashion industry.
Helpful websites like Made in Canada have created a database of consumer goods that makes it easy to look up everything from clothing and footwear to food and electronics that are proudly Canadian. You can filter through brands that are Canadian-owned and publicly traded, as well as learn about where each company makes and manufactures their goods.
In honour of Canada Day and making more informed shopping decisions, here are five brands that are made and manufactured here in Canada to shop now. Did we miss your favourite? Let us know in the comments.
Since opening its doors in 1959, Le Chateau has been a Canadian go-to for affordable and fashionable apparel, accessories, and footwear for both men and women. The company is dedicated to its Canadian roots and maintains production facilities here that contribute 30 per cent of its merchandise annually, and is featured in its Made in Canada line.
SHOP IT: Le Chateau, $140
This year in honour of Pride Month, each piece in the brand’s inclusive And collection was made in collaboration with Montreal's Petites-Mains, an organization that helps women in need break out of social isolation, learn a trade, and integrate back into the workforce. Their sustainable practices and eco-conscious fabric choices are changing Canada’s fashion industry one piece at a time.
SHOP IT: Frank and Oak, $70
Sustainably made, versatile pieces that are ideal for everyday wear and 100 per cent made in Canada? Encircled hits the mark on all three fronts. All pieces are manufactured in Toronto at sewing studios located within 35 km of their head office to create the perfect capsule wardrobe that you’ll want to reach for time and time again.
SHOP IT: Encircled, $148
Trendy and high performance activewear that’s both edgy and feminine is Michi’s signature style. Though the brand started in 2010 in New York, founder Michelle Watson moved to Toronto and brought the brand with her, which is where all manufacturing still takes place today.
SHOP IT: Michi, $167
This Canadian designer duo pride themselves on well-made tailoring that combines feminine details with structured masculine touches. Eighty per cent of each Judith and Charles collection is made and manufactured locally in Quebec with the goal of maintaining the highest quality and fit for every garment.
SHOP IT: Nordstrom, $595
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