Celebrating Ethical Canadian Brands That are Worth Wearing

Published on January 19, 2021

Celebrating ethical Canadian brands, Kotn’s Men's Crew Sweater in Black

Three homegrown brands that embrace the slow fashion movement

The modern consumer world is full of questions about sustainability and ethical production. Do you ever wonder about the environmental impact of the fast fashion industry? Before you buy a shirt, do you consider where it came from and who made it? It’s difficult to know who to trust, or where to find the answers, but the knowledge you’ll gain is well worth the effort. I’m here sharing and celebrating ethical Canadian brands – three, in fact – that have helped change the fashion landscape through ethical practices and inclusivity.

Lead Photo Credit: KOTN

We are celebrating ethical Canadian brands like Kotn

Kotn, a clothing brand based in Montreal and Toronto, was created in 2015 to “set the standard for conscious creation and consumption.” All their collections of solid-coloured fashion staples and breezy, natural-hued home textiles are designed with practicality, durability and timeless style in mind. Every purchase helps fund school infrastructure in Egypt’s Nile Delta, provide resources to farms and low-income families and advocate for environmental responsibility. Kotn’s mission is to create a collaborative community, where the customers not only support the brand, but also change the lives of children and contribute to a healthier planet.

Celebrating ethical Canadian brands, young man wearing The Work Shirt in bronze
The Work Shirt in Bronze by Kotn is an ethically made Canadian brand | Image Credit Kotn

Buttercream Clothing

Buttercream Clothing was started by Candice Munro, who designed and created adorable, vintage-style aprons at her kitchen table. Over time, Buttercream blossomed into a full-fledged clothing brand known for its wide range of versatile, size-inclusive designs, as well as its ethical approach to fashion. Buttercream’s flagship store in Calgary, Alberta, sells irresistible, comfortable garments that are made locally by a team of over 25 women. Since the brand’s creation, Buttercream Clothing has become a valuable support for local artists and for women in business, a role the company sustains through a steadfast commitment to local, and a passion for community involvement.

Celebrating ethical Canadian brands like the Ecru Triangle bamboo blend blanket from Buttercream
The Ecru Triangle bamboo blend blanket from Buttercream is ethically made | Photo Credit Buttercream

Celebrating ethical Canadian brands like Free Label

Free Label is cut and sewn locally in Toronto and Vancouver and specializes in sustainable materials. The small-batch, comfort-first brand was founded in 2015 by Jess Sternberg, as a way to make Canadian-made clothing more accessible. Free Label’s products come together through the brand’s strong, country-wide community. Their fabrics are custom milled in Toronto, all their packaging materials are 100 per cent compostable and their factory partners are a quick, 10-minute drive away from Free Label’s Vancouver office. Free Label shows that ethical production and beautiful, sustainable fashion can go hand in hand.

Celebrating ethical Canadian brands like Free Label, and a model is showing the White Andie Bra
Celebrating ethical Canadian brands like Free Label, The White Andie Bra | Photo Credit Free Label

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The Author
Peace Akintade is an African Canadian Poet, Public Speaker, and Thespian residing in Saskatoon Saskatchewan. She is Co-coordinator of Write Out Loud, a Saskatoon-based Youth Poetry Community, and a board member of the Tonight it’s Poetry Community. Saskatoon’s Youth Slam Champion (2017-2019); former member of the Youth Advisory Council for the Tim Horton Children Foundation, and presently part of the Youth Speaker’s Bureau for the Office of the Treaty Commissioner. An active member of the Truly Alive Youth and Family Foundation Inc [TAYFFI] as a Youth spokesperson, her poems touch on the impact of slavery in her village, colourism, growing up in Iran, Nigeria, and Canada, and relearning her culture in the face of colonization.