Coloured spools line the walls, tactile all-natural fabrics are laid out ready for cutting, fresh adventure-worthy product waits to be encompassed into the next photoshoot. Our creators are hard at work, measuring here, cutting there, the sewing machines hum. Welcome to our home turf production factory right in the heart of Victoria, BC, just a stone’s throw from our Government St store.
Scrapping the Status Quo
Appreciation for the beautiful backyard we call home and the creativity it fosters has long been part of who we are. When the expansion of ecologyst (then called Sitka) had led to overseas production and its accompanying social and environmental impacts in the early 2000s, something had to change.
Conventional fast fashion primarily uses offshore production that’s often “linked to dangerous working conditions" and "workers suffering from long working hours and low pay.” Companies also regularly have to meet high minimum orders when outsourcing overseas, creating increased waste when products aren’t purchased and in turn aren’t recycled.
Made in Canada
So in 2014 we started to scale right back, now embracing local production onsite at our Victoria business hub to a wealth of positive outcomes. What’s surprising to many is that the production team behind our adventurous apparel is down to just three employees — small, but mighty. Our product manager, Darci who is pictured in these photos, Mira, our factory manager and one highly talented sewing technician, Anna.
Creating in-house means transparency around ethical wages and the safeguarding of workers' rights. We focus our dollars on high quality fabrics and our employees, rather than outsourced production/wholesale costs and shipping. Avoiding social/labour issues that have arisen overseas across the fashion industry such as child and forced labour, underpayment, and poor working conditions and the environmental toll of staff travel to factory sites and long-distance shipping of materials in the process. Onshore, we are also accountable to living wage requirements, while our team enjoys contributing to our vibrant local economy whether it’s whipping up a local gin cocktail or grabbing morning fuel from a local roastery.
Durable, Not Disposable
We’re rejecting the status quo, challenging the belief that “gone are the days when people would buy a shirt and wear it for years”. Ecologyst is a community, your brand, and by moving to a direct-to-consumer model, we’re closer to your feedback. Designing based on what you really need for a lifetime spent outside, creating less wasteful and more efficient production processes.
It's part of our passion for our community investing in fewer, but better: pieces that last a lifetime, hold up between beach break and mountain top. Aligning with the encouraging insight that “increasing the average number of times clothes are worn is the most direct lever to capture value and design out waste and pollution in the textiles system.” We resist fast-fashion throwaway culture by creating small runs in durable, all-natural fabrics over petro-chemical based fibers. Reinvesting our efforts into textiles we can all rely on out in the wild — from adventure-ready weatherproof Ventile to the surprising all-natural performance powerhouse that is wool.
Nature immersion left your gear a little worse for wear? Our repair service has you covered. Brought to life because we’re committed to keeping our gear from adding to the 85% of all textiles that go to the dump each year. Not to mention our creations rooted in higher quality materials equate to far less repairs, something we can keep up with!
If producing at our own home turf factory wasn’t hyperlocal enough, we passionately champion the work of other creatives in our area. Dive into the historic story of Bilston Creek Farm, feel our soft spring knitwear collaboration with Olann, and explore our partnership with Salt Spring Candles in our cozy Cabin bundles. We’re grateful for the creative culture and inspiring landscape we get to call home.
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