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8 Responsible Fashion Changemakers you Need to Know About

7-minute read

The choices we make and the products we purchase all have an impact. As fast fashion lingers at our fingertips, it’s easy to succumb to the latest trend. Instead of choosing convenience, we’re choosing to be thoughtful about the products we purchase and the impact they have. We’re choosing to ask bigger, better questions and acknowledge the impacts our fashion choices have on the people who make them. We’re choosing to buy less and buy better.

Alongside Fashion Revolution Canada, we’ve rounded up our favorite responsible fashion brands that are igniting change in the fashion industry. Using our platform, we want to create a conversation with you and share a few of the brands that we admire most.

harly jae

Where: Vancouver, BC, Canada
What: The airy essentials you’ve been dreaming of.

The Look - Responsible Fashion - harly jae - Poppy Barley
Photo Credit: harly jae

Harly jae’s feminine and vintage-inspired designs were born from a desire to spark change in the fashion industry. By carefully selecting their fabrics and working with a local manufacturer in Vancouver, BC, they craft conscious garments that incorporate fresh, yet timeless styles. Each harly jae item is produced locally in Vancouver, allowing for superior quality control and reduced environmental impacts. Regular visits are conducted at the production facility, where the owners build close relationships with seamstresses who’re paid fair wages.

Where to Shop: harlyjae.com

ARC Apparel

Where: Vancouver, BC, Canada
What: They’ve got you covered for your cool-girl, effortless summer look.

The Look - Responsible Fashion - ARC Apparel - Poppy Barley
Photo Credit: ARC Apparel

Inspired by conversations while travelling the world, ARC Apparel founder, Sarah Stewart, is on a mission to connect people with the planet through the products they purchase. Available online or at their Gastown shop, ARC Apparel is a curated collection of beautiful garments and accessories from the world’s most responsible brands. Sarah prides herself on educating customers about social and environmental business practices and how their small changes can have a big impact.

Where to Shop: arcapparel.ca


Where: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
What: Fitted belts built for social impact, quality and comfort.

The Look - Responsible Fashion - Unbelts - Poppy Barley
Photo Credit: Unbelts

Unbelts’ “Made in China” label carries a very different reputation from its stereotypical mass-produced and cheaply made connotation. When founder Claire Theaker-Brown lived in Shanghai from 2008-2014, she personally saw the dramatic impact of paying higher wages for smaller quantities take on the quality of the products produced and the people making them. In 2018, Unbelts also opened a factory in Edmonton to take advantage of shorter turnaround times and real-time prototyping opportunities. These belts were created to help you feel great in your jeans with flexible, adjustable stretch bands that are guaranteed to last—they’re belts that you can look and feel good in.

Where to Shop: unbelts.ca

Outland Denim

Where: Tamborine Mountain, Australia
What: The pair of denim you’ll never want to take off.

The Look - Responsible Fashion - Outland Denim - Poppy Barley
Photo Credit: Outland Denim

Australia’s first Certified B CorporationⓇ denim brand, Outland Denim, sources the finest environmentally sound raw materials from around the world, while offering training and employment opportunities to women rescued from human trafficking, sexual exploitation and other human rights abuses.

They’re committed to sourcing the most ethical and sustainable raw materials, from organic cotton pocket linings to recycled packaging. They strive to ensure that their entire supply chain aligns with the world's best practices. Embodying a shared ethos of consuming less, less often and buying better quality encourages customers to take part of a global movement towards a fashion industry that promotes environmental responsibility and human dignity. Outland denim is made different.

Fun Fact: Duchess of Cambridge, Meghan Markle, is a huge fan of Outland!

Where to Shop: outlanddenim.ca

New Classics

Where: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
What: Your most unique and beloved treasures.

The Look - Responsible Fashion - New Classics - Poppy Barley
Photo Credit: New Classics

New Classics Studios is an Edmonton-based multi-brand e-retailer that merges classic and timeless designs with social responsibility and environmental awareness. Profoundly talented founder, Alyssa Lau, is also a creative photographer and has shot Poppy Barley’s fall, spring and summer campaigns. New Classics offers a platform that introduces, benefits and supports the creators and designers who pave the way for the slow fashion movement in innovative and unique ways. They’re inspired to spark the conversation of sustainability and ethical treatment of garment workers across our country.

Where to Shop: newclassics.ca


Where: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
What: The t-shirt you’ll live in this summer.

The Look - Responsible Fashion - Franc - Poppy Barley
Photo Credit: Franc

Franc believes that you deserve to look and feel good, with stylish basics ethically made in Canada. Their designs are staples to complement your personal style, rather than dictate it. These versatile basics seamlessly integrate into your current wardrobe for endless (re)styled options. FRANC works with one female-run factory 30km from their headquarters. Close proximity allows them to visit frequently, building personal relationships with the people who make their clothes, all while decreasing their carbon footprint while transporting garments. In an effort to keep the cost of their garments accessible, FRANC only sells direct-to-consumer to avoid traditional retail markups and to keep prices honest and fair.

Where to Shop: wearfranc.com


Where: Calgary, Alberta, Canada
What: The boutique you’ll visit and want to call home.

The Look - Responsible Fashion - Field Study - Poppy Barley
Photo Credit: Field Study

Fieldstudy is a lifestyle store that embraces the thoughtful traditions of anthropological study. They believe that every artisan has a story and want to give voice to these meaningful narratives. Their goal is to bring you quality goods with an honest provenance that you’ll have and love for a lifetime. Each item is thoughtfully handpicked for its craftsmanship, beauty and functionality in mind. Located on 4th Street in Calgary, their store is a space to build a community and home for everything they love and appreciate. Living in a throwaway society, they hope to inspire those who visit to make more sustainable and ethical choices—to buy fewer, better quality goods.

Where to Shop: fieldstudyshop.com

Free Label

Where: Vancouver, BC, Canada
What: The not-so-basic basics.

The Look - Responsible Fashion - Free Label - Poppy Barley
Photo Credit: Free Label

Founded by couple Jess and Julian, Free Label was born from the lack of high quality, flattering, active essentials ethically made in Canada. Every Free Label garment is cut and sewn in Canada, specifically in Vancouver and Toronto to ensure their garments are made by “happy hands”. Their Vancouver factory partners are all within a 10 minute drive of their headquarters. Fabrics are passed-off by hand and factories are visited frequently to build relationships with the seamstresses, while ensuring they have clean and safe work environments. Now stocked in over 30 boutiques across Canada, Free Label brings you your everyday essentials with a piece of mind knowing that each garment is made ethically.

Where to Shop: freelabel.com

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