I’m sure I’m not the only one grappling with the conundrum of wanting to support local and independent businesses while also maintaining my low consumption values. Am I alone in this? I hope not. I also hope that no matter where you are in the world, and no matter how you are experiencing this global pandemic, that you are staying healthy and as happy as is possible during this time.
I’ve had the true honour and pleasure of being introduced to some incredible independent brands in the sustainable fashion space, and since I know I cannot single-handedly save them by maxing out my credit card and accumulating totally unnecessary (but gorgeous!) items, I thought I would share which ones I am rooting for while the world’s broken fashion and retail system sorts itself out. If you do find yourself in need of anything – or perhaps wanting to buy a gift for someone or gift card for future use (mother’s day is around the corner!), I highly encourage checking out these brands, almost all of whom i’ve had a personal interaction with. This is not to say I’m not going to look to my other faves like my secondhand crew (hi ThredUP, The Real Real, Vestiaire Co, Imparfaite, etc) or other brands I love (Sezane, Everlane – yes I still like them although with a bit more caution – blog post to come), these businesses are at my top of mind because of their resourceful nature and their smaller scale.
Independent & Ethical Brands I Love (in no order)
1 – Ana Luisa: If you watch my channel or follow me on IG, you’re probably already familiar with Ana Luisa; a Brooklyn-based jeweler that uses recycled materials (my jam!) and has a true mission to reduce their environmental footprint while also treating humans with dignity and creating beautiful, long lasting jewelry. If you are considering a mother’s day purchase, might I suggest my paper-clip chain necklace which I created with them and launched in January of this year? 😉 😉 Not only would you be supporting Ana Luisa, but you’d be supporting my channel and the World Federation for Mental Health, as I have chosen to donate 10% of the proceeds of that necklace to this important cause.
2 – Power of My People: Another name you’ve likely heard me use VERY often when referencing some of my favourite shirts. I’ve been working with this British-Columbia based company since my channel was in its infancy (I still think it is, who are we kidding) and have been slowly acquiring their shirts ever since. Ethically hand-crafted in Canada using natural materials, these shirts wear so well and offer the right amount of stiffness for me to keep my collar popped. Love.
3 – Public Habit: I do not yet own anything from Public Habit, but they reached out to me late last year and I’ve been enjoying following their journey and philosophy of slow fashion ever since. They use deadstock fabric and create timeless and versatile closet basics. They also chose to manufacture in China and their feed is always full of enlightening facts about manufacturing in this country which I think is great because there is so often an knee-jerk reaction to made-in-China which, I think, requires some more education.
4 – Organic Basics: I don’t think Organic Basics is a “small” company per se, but the fact that they are able to pay me for an upcoming campaign and continue operations through this pandemic is a testament to their sustainable business practices. To me, sustainability doesn’t only apply to a company’s environmental initiatives, but also (and more so) to their way of doing business. Are they looking for quick and plentiful sales, flash-in the pan ideas and the quickest/easiest way to profit? Or are they willing to slowly build so that all parties involved are respected on the path to awesomeness? To me, this is true sustainability and Organic Basics is great evidence of that, in my opinion.
5 – Encircled: Oh geez how I love this company and am heartbroken that they have had to reduce operations because of this pandemic. This Canadian brand is led by a truly fearless and inspirational CEO who is now making and donating masks so that health-care workers can have access to the medical grade masks they need. I love how they are able to pivot to support COVID19 efforts and really hope our Canadian government starts paying more attention to these Canadian manufacturers in the future. Encircled garments are carefully and beautifully made, and represent some of my most comfortable and comforting garments in my closet. Truly, wearing their jumpsuit feels like wearing a hug all day long.
6 – Merivale Vision Care: While my local eye care clinic is closer to home, they have quickly reacted to the pandemic via online sales which can be shipped to the US! Merivale Vision Care is a true community leader that goes above and beyond – when normally operating, they send their doctors to developing nations on eye care missions, they visit old age homes to care for the elderly who cannot make it in, they collect contact lenses for recycling, and now – during COVID19, they are running an emergency eye clinic by volunteer staff to make sure none of us have to clog emergency rooms or freak out about our vision. I have already benefited from their emergency eye clinic a few weeks ago, it was a real comfort knowing I could be taken care of.
If this global pandemic has you rethinking your consumption habits and seeking out independent, ethically owned businesses who could use your support, there are so many out there and I’m always happy to recommend more. As always, thank you for reading,