5 places to shop for ethical and sustainable clothing in Vancouver

May 13 2020, 12:02 pm
This article was written for Daily Hive by Niki Booker as part of a collaboration with Handsworth Secondary School.

With the world so focused on reducing plastic use and biking to work rather than driving, it’s easy to forget one of the less obvious wide-scale polluters: the textile industry.

Pesticides, toxic dyes, and production emissions are all partly responsible for its detrimental impact.

But the issue doesn’t stop there; a myriad of welfare concerns exist within the industry. Child labour and exploitative working conditions raise flags for humanitarian organizations who care enough to examine the sweatshops that produce your $24 jeans.

In Canada, we’re all experiencing the pressure to contribute to positive change. But even though you may want to help, it feels hard to know where to start.

It may be great to know that one way starts in your closet — or rather, in your shopping bag.

What is ethical fashion?

Ethical fashion, also known as sustainable or eco fashion, is a movement meant to address and reduce the harm caused by not only the textile industry but by the fashion system as a whole, including branches of finance and culture. Therefore, not only does ethical fashion help the world; it helps your wallet and it connects you to the local brands and stores around you. Luckily, we live in a city with a number of options to ameliorate your individual impact.

Ethically-sourced clothing stores

Although the lure of familiar cheap stores exists around every corner in Vancouver, there are definitely some unique treasures of shops and brands that carry ethically-sourced clothes.

Obakki

 

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Obakki, a Vancouver-based store founded in 2005 by Treana Peak, not only carries ethically-made products but is affiliated with the Obakki Foundation which implements livelihood initiatives in vulnerable areas of Africa.

Address: 261 E Pender Street, Vancouver
Phone: 604-669-9790

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Charlie & Lee

 

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Charlie & Lee is an independently-owned store that boasts a supply of locally-made clothes, ceramics, and candles. A great choice if you’re interested in supporting local businesses.

Address: 223 Union Street, Vancouver
Phone: 604-558-3030

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Chloë Angus Design

 

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Chloë Angus Design has been collaborating with Indigenous artists across Canada to provide customers with products that are not only ethically and locally-made, but are sold by a company that focuses on sustainability, body positivity, and Indigenous representation. The company is 50% Métis-owned and supports a number of community and charitable organizations such as The Aboriginal Mother Centre Society and Dress for Success Vancouver.

Address: 45 E 6th Avenue #100, Vancouver
Phone: 604-224-2456

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Consignment/Thrift Stores

We can’t overlook the numerous benefits of checking out your neighbourhood thrift or consignment shops; you’re rescuing clothes from the landfill and you’re bound to find deals that save you a few dollars.

Hunter and Hare

 

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Hunter and Hare is a popular women’s consignment store that sells quality clothing as well as products made by local companies and artisans. It’s affiliated with charities such as Diabetes Canada, MOMS, Still Fabulous Auxiliary Thrift Store, and Women Working With Women.

Address: 334 W Pender Street, Vancouver
Phone: 604-559-4273

Address: 334 W Pender Street, Vancouver
Phone: 604-559-4273

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The Young and the Restless Clothing Exchange

 

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The Young and the Restless Clothing Exchange is Vancouver’s first “clothing exchange” store. The shop always carries a wide range of trendy, retro, and vintage pieces and is focused on the local youth, offering students 50% off clothing year-round. Consignment and exchanges are encouraged and give buyers a certain percentage off their purchases.

Address: 1533 W Broadway, Vancouver
Phone: 604-612-1588

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