activist notes

Ethical garments – where in Canada to get em by activistnotes

By Ian Hussey

This is a common question and problem. You don’t want to support sweatshops but don’t know where to buy ethically made cloths. Here are a few options for starters.

Do you know of others?


Just Shirts

One of the co-founders is an old friend. Cool company. Works exclusively with a coop of single mothers in El Salvador comprising former sweatshop workers. The sizing of their shirts is closer to South and Central American sizes than Canadian sizes. As someone who usually wears a large, I sometimes have a hard time finding something that fits. They are merging with the Fair Trade Clothing Coop located on Bloor West near Bathurst in Toronto. They also operate out of Calgary.


Mountain Equipment Coop

I’ve been told from a union organizer that MEC had its own rocky history with labour issues in the early 90s, but over the last decade have really gotten themselves straight and are now leaders in ethical sourcing. MEC’s cotton cloths are now more and more made with organic cotton. Most of my casual wardrobe is from MEC.


Formerly Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees. A really cool union. UNITE!

No Sweat Apparel

A cool company. They walk the talk and I love and support them for that…but I bought a pair of their no sweat shoes that play on Converse Chuck Taylors and they fell apart in a month. Damn things cost me 50 bucks too. I still wore them for a while afterward and tried to convince myself wearing holey shoes was punk but that only lasted so long. That was a couple years ago now and I’m assuming the quality has gotten better with time.


Another friend of mine was involved in starting this solidarity co-op. Their garments are made with Fair Trade Certified cotton. [In 2006, the Maquila Solidarity Network wrote a great discussion paper called ‘Is Fair Trade a Good Fit for the Garment Industry?‘]

NKI. New K Industry

As in new kind of industry. This co has great designs and I’ve heard nothing but good things about em.

Activist Notes doesn’t endorse American Apparel. The representation of women in their ads is appalling and there have been questions raised in the past about whether the labour standards of their factories are up to snuff.









2 Comments so far
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Our fair trade garments are hand-made in high altitude, rural Peruvian communities. The alpaca yarn used to make these products is derived from predominantly non-dyed fibres.

PUNKU carries other fairly traded Peruvian items from a Peruvian producer member of the International Association of Fair Trade(IFAT, ).

For more information:

Comment by Renato Sobrino

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