“It’s important that we sell sustainable fashion because we want unique clothing to be accessible for everyone,” say Claire Bouvier and Niki Hodgskiss—a.k.a. The Loft Girls—two women from Kingston, Ontario, who sell a mix of vintage and upcycled clothing out of a mobile fashion truck (the two met when they moved into neighbouring lofts, hence the name). “We appreciate that clothing lasts way longer when it gets reused or re-purposed and can be ‘new’ for a different person.” Both Bouvier and Hodgskiss grew up in households that encouraged secondhand shopping as a means of being resourceful and, as a result, learned to be creative with clothing and styling outfits. The idea for the fashion truck was born out of a shared passion for entrepreneurship, eco-fashion and personal style; they take it across Eastern Ontario in the summer, selling at art shows, music festivals and pop-up shops. In the winter, they host The Loft Market, a space for local female artists and designers to showcase their creations. “We love supporting and working with other female entrepreneurs.” Their own secondhand selection is a combination of classic and contemporary items for every demographic, plus jewellery—they work with two Kingston-based designers, Rebellious Clove and Vanderzee, who use upcycled natural materials—and re-purposed denim, all of which they find while traveling throughout the US, Europe, Asia and Canada. Their advice for shopping sustainably? Have patience (eco-fashion items aren’t styled like clothes would be in a store), try to visualize how an outfit might look beyond how a retailer tells you it should, and respect your personal style. “We encourage women to go with what makes them feel good.” And, the girls have a great place to start: their own line of clothing, which is Canadian-made using organic materials, launches in October.
Looking for more ways to act and shop sustainably? Here are 6 more all-Canadian solutions.
Four women from Vancouver, BC, who teach you to repair broken items in your home rather than toss them, to reduce waste and encourage creative problem solving.
Former Canadian TV show host Karen Bertelson teaches you how to grow your own vegetables, make DIY décor, raise your own chickens and more.
Short for Mat(t)erial and Nature, this vegan company has been creating its popular bags with recycled materials (nylons, cardboard, rubber, cork) since 2007.
The Ontario-based Loch makes sustainable eyewear from 500-year-old wood that’s been reclaimed from the bottom of Canadian lakes (meaning no trees are cut down in order to make the product).
This grassroots, volunteer group organizes free events around the city where you can learn repair skills.
This Montreal-based bike repair collective shares its facilities, tools and knowledge, promotes recycling and reusing old parts, and offers special workshops on the specific parts of bike mechanics.
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