A Fashion Awakening
A couple years ago, a dear friend suggested I watch a documentary called The True Cost. It was the first time I heard the term ‘ethical fashion’ and I learned some startling things about the fashion industry that I hadn’t ever given much thought to. It was one of those moments when you discover something and everything changes. It was also the first time I heard the term ‘fast fashion’ and I immediately made the connection to food and the ‘fast food’ industry – mass production, low quality, low prices creating harsh effects down the supply chain. At that moment, I knew that buying clothing was about to become something different for me.
As a Registered Massage Therapist, I prioritize, promote, live and breathe healthy lifestyle choices, and being in this industry, I am surrounded by people who do the same. Since I was a teenager I had been making conscious choices with food. Over 10 years ago my health & beauty care products followed, then household cleaners, then makeup, and I am always striving to reduce waste in an effort to shimmy lightly on the earth.
When I learned the fashion industry has an incredibly massive impact on the environment through water consumption, pesticides in cotton farming, toxic dyes entering waterways, textile waste in landfills, I knew that fashion was next on my healthy lifestyle list. Not only is the environment affected, but the people and communities who make our clothes are too. And so a new path opened up and I had no idea what to expect.
The term ethical fashion is a difficult one to define though its foundation is built on empowerment, preservation and no harm. Generally, it describes design, sourcing and manufacturing clothing which maximizes benefits to people and communities while minimizing impact on the environment – including sustainable fabrics and production, animal welfare, fair trade, exploitive labour, safe working conditions, and use of hazardous chemicals.
What’s out there?
My first step was looking to see if any shops in Toronto carried ethical fashion. I quickly realized that I had a problem. What I found wasn’t inspiring. I turned to my local ‘gently worn’ shops and was fine with that for a while (my favourite is Common Sort in Parkdale and I’ve found some gems at various Kind Exchange locations). I started looking at my own wardrobe for different ways to wear the same pieces. Then I started searching online and wow was I amazed.
I found a global community in this niche of bloggers, designers, non-profit organizations and conscious citizens. All the while I craved that one stylish place where I could shop responsibly. Enter, my sister who has been right by my side the whole time with the same spirit for ethical fashion. One day, we had our ‘wouldn’t it be great if moment’ and took the leap out of our comfort zones.
The Launch of Ethikal
Our new venture is called Ethikal: a thoughtfully curated marketplace made up of conscious designers and people who celebrate style and fashion, creativity, purpose and profit equally, with social good at the heart. We are excited to soft launch to the IHI community! Check us out at www.ethikal.com. We are starting with a small collection of local designers and are lining up more to come.
We’ve been so inspired by all the people we’ve met along this new path. Our mission is to inspire and encourage choosing better, more mindfully, consciously and healthfully. What I wear on my body is a healthy lifestyle choice for me, my home, my community and beyond.
Yvette Marcek is a Registered Massage Therapist, Pilates Practitioner and Reiki Practitioner; she often incorporates each of these modalities with her clients. Recognizing that each person who comes in the treatment room has unique requirements and goals, her priority is to create a therapeutic environment that is safe, healing, and positive. Yvette’s technique is an embodiment of her belief in massage therapy and the influence of her fortunate opportunities for world travel and an incorporation of her journey’s cultural diversity.