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    News — Candid Copious

    THREADED | no labels, just vibes.

    The threaded collection has gone through a few iterations since its beginning.
    Last Spring, I realized I wanted each sweater under the THREADED label to make a statement.
    This is when no labels, just vibes was born.

    no labels, just vibes, threaded collection, thrifted collection, upcycled collection.What does ❤️‍🔥 no labels, just vibes❤️‍🔥 mean? 

    When I decided that each sweater needed to make a bigger statement, I wanted something clean and simple that could be embroidered on each piece. Something that could be a badge of honour for the person wearing it.

     Reflecting on what inspired THREADED, I kept coming back to the waste that labels create. Their uncontrolled production that produces too much clothing every year, flooding our secondhand shops and landfills with unwanted clothing.This led me to think on why thrifting has always inspired me. Each shop is a melange of clothing from different generations and different styles and when thrifting it forces you to figure out your personal style, it allows you to develop a keen sense for the vibe of each piece.This is how no labels, just vibes was born.

    Once this motto was in my head I couldn’t stop thinking of its double meaning. It could be applied to clothing, but I kept thinking about our need as a society to label people. We use these labels to put people in a box to help us understand them, but it can also bring immediate judgement. When labels are chosen by the individual person they can be very empowering, but so often these labels are given to us by others.

    Vibes are real. Whether with people or style, it is a feeling, an energy that attracts us. What if we used these feelings over the labels that we are told to carry or wear. The more I sat with this motto the more I knew it was the vibe I wanted THREADED to carry forward.

     This collection first launched in person this past Fall and the conversations it sparked were more than I could have imagined. People of all ages explored and shopped this collection.

    I had young people shop and explain the vibes they got from thrifted pieces to their parents.

    I had a grandma, a long time thrifter, who bought pieces for each of her grandchildren who now thrifted.

    I had parents and step-parents shop and talk about how their children were choosing their own identities and that this slogan would mean so much to them.

    It literally made my heart burst when each THREADED piece found its home and I can’t wait to have more conversations in a week at the Spring One of a Kind Show, March 30th - April 3rd. Buy your tickets here.

     

    This collection means so much to me. Edition 8 launches Thursday @ 8pm.

    Sign up for my Newsletter to be the first to shop.

     

    How to Spot Greenwashing

    The Green Movement and Greenwashing are intrinsically tied together, and with little to no regulation, the onus is on us, as consumers to recognize when a company is greenwashing their products. Having worked in the clothing industry for 15 years I am often asked by clients about brands they have discovered; Are they ethical? Are they eco-friendly? And the big question, are they a fast fashion brand? Ultimately greenwashing is lying, and when their lies’ are good, it can trick us into thinking we are buying something that was made with thought, care, and with the environment in mind.

    definition of greenwashing: a common marketing ploy designed to make products seem more sustainable than they are.

    A quick dive into the History of the Green Movement:

    Most people would conger up images of the 70’s – hippies holding signs that read ‘POLLUTION brought to you by the same folks that brought you VIETNAM.’ When researching I was surprised to learn that the Green Movement, in terms of American culture, dates back to the 1830s-40s, first developed by Transcendentalists. What didn’t surprise me was that there was no mention or recognition of the fact that Aboriginal + Indigenous people have lived with the Earth and have always fought for its preservation. Our world history often diminishes their efforts to protect our planet. ‘It’s their timeless stewardship of the land – based on respect, reciprocity, restraint, and reverence – that to this day continues to nourish their communities and cultures, sustain biodiversity, and preserve life-giving ecosystems.’1

    green movement in the 70's

    Over the last 5 years, we have seen The Green Movement move more and more to the forefront of people's minds, as we are given increasingly alarming statistics from scientists, people are looking to the companies they buy from to step up and do the right thing. With any movement that pushes back against capitalism, big brands will always find a way to sell us their original product with new packaging and marketing to make us feel better about buying the same old thing. Greenwashing has had its ups and downs just like the Green Movement and we are currently witnessing a resurgence of Greenwashing as more and more consumers demand products be made consciously, brands are having to put their “green sheen” onto the same poorly made, environmentally damaging products.

    Over the years we have become aware of the damage our modern life causes on the environment – flying overseas, using disposable plastic, driving to and from work, but when it comes to our clothing the impacts were less obvious and took longer to come to light. You might ask, what is it about the clothing industry that there is to greenwash; companies like H&M, Shein, Uniqlo, Urban Outfitters, Fashion Novo & Zara have worked hard to keep information like how much clothing they produce a year? What their factory workers are paid? What happens to damaged or end of season clothing? Where do they dump chemically laden water? They have kept these answers a secret because ultimately none of the decisions they are making are in the best interest of the environment, the land, or the people who work for them.

    Fast Fashion Brands Greenwashing

    At this point, we all know the damage of fast fashion, but it is naïve of us to think that these million and billion dollar companies will just close up because they are harmful to our environment.

    What is more damaging than a fast fashion brand? One posing as being an ally to the Green Movement, where they tell us what we want to hear, but continue the same harmful practices.

    This is Greenwashing. Companies, like mentioned above, are using the environmental movement to increase their market share.2 Like stated above, there are no regulations when it comes to this ploy, it is on us as consumers to become informed enough to spot when a brand is Greenwashing their products. This is happening in all industries, not just fashion. Below are some questions that you should be asking before buying products, they will help you spot if a company is Greenwashing. 

     

    Brodie & Michelle from Blondie Apparel suggests asking these questions:

    WHERE DO THEY MANUFACTURE THEIR PRODUCTS?

    This is super easy, if you head over to Blondie Apparel, they have a dedicated page talking about the 'small women-owned factory located on the outskirts of Toronto' where they have their products manufactured. Their social media has also featured both of them doing picks ups there. This is a clear message to consumers that this business CARES about its manufacturing process. They are working with another local business to make long lasting garments.

    A fast fashion brand that is Greenwashing their products will not show where they manufacture its products, because honestly, they don't want you to know. They won't show that partnership because there isn't one.

    WHAT TYPE OF PACKAGING DO THEY USE?

    I love this question as a baseline for Greenwashing. H&M, Zara, Urban Outfitters, all have pages on their website that talk at length about their eco-friendly and sustainable practices, yet when you receive a shipment from them, each item is individually wrapped in plastic. Many local businesses, Blondie Apparel included are going above and beyond to make sure they are using eco-conscious shipping materials.

    IS IT CLEAR WHERE THEY SOURCE THEIR FABRIC?

    Companies like Blondie Apparel and OkayOk are vocal on their social media about milling their own fabric with local mills. This is a part of their brand identity, sustainability. The same applies to where their products are made, if a brand is not honest about where their fabric is milled, they are hiding it for a reason.

     

    Masha from Masha Apparel suggested looking at:

    FABRIC CONTENT LABELS.

    Look for proper names of fabric on the content label. A huge Greenwashing tactic is making polyester sound better. Like Vegan Satin Silk, which is not a real fabric, vegan silk is polyester. Another example is companies will often label the products as satin, satin is a weave, not a fabric content. It will almost always be 100% polyester with a tight satin weave. 

    VERIFY ECO OR RECYCLED CLAIMS.

    Companies will often list the fabric as natural or recycled when only a small portion of it actually is. A garment that is 30% recycled polyester, and 70% polyester will often be labeled as recycled fabric and a garment that is 25% cotton and 75% polyester will be called a natural fabric. There are no rules regulating this.

    BE WARY OF THE WORD SUSTAINABLE.

    There is no governing body to determine what sustainable means. For example, sustainable denim from India (where labor and environmental laws are different from Canada’s) is probably a far cry from your expectations of true sustainability. 

     

    Adrienne from OkayOk gave this tip for spotting Greenwashing:

     WATCH FOR THAT ONE TAGLINE THAT OVERSHADOWS THE BAD STUFF.

    Things like 'Designed in Canada' that tricks you into thinking Made in Canada, or 'Cruelty Free' when everything is made from plastic. When researching this article I saw taglines like 'Shop + Save the Planet' & 'Look Cute + Protect the Environment.' These are gross overstatements and ultimately when we know how damaging fashion is to our environment, seem downright cruel and misleading.

     

    Carissa (me!) from Copious thinks you should watch out for:

    PRICE

    This is a huge giveaway. If a brand is touting sustainable practices and ethical manufacturing its prices will be higher. (Yes luxury brands Greenwash, charge higher prices and are ultimately selling their name not just the product, but that is a topic for another blog post.) Fast Fashion brands talk sustainability then turn around and sell pants for $60. This is not sustainable or ethical, and damage is being done by not paying a fair living wage to workers & to our environment. 

    WHEN A BRAND PRODUCES A TINY RANGE OF ITS LINE SUSTAINABLY BUT PROMOTES ITSELF AS CONSCIOUS.

    If a company produces 1 item sustainably, but 100,000 pieces non sustainably are they really sustainable? We need to draw a hard line and spend our money with companies, and local brands who are putting the work in to build whole collections eco-consciously.

     

    Lastly, Nicole from Desserts & Skirts gave my favourite advice.

    FOLLOW YOUR GUT.

    There are so many red flags a company can show us they are being unethical. Too much variety of products, number of products produced each year, low price tag, sales all the time. Ultimately you have to trust your gut and spend your money with someone you trust. If you think they are Greenwashing, they probably are.

     

    Writing this made me a little sad. I am dropping some reels this week to show you companies that are Greenwashing and seeing them use words like; Sustainable, Eco-Conscious, Eco-Friendly, Recycled, Thrifted, in marketing tactics to help sell their products that are not made with these actual values is discouraging. But then I talked to these amazing businesswomen about Greenwashing and realized we are all so knowledgable about this marketing ploy and the only way to help others learn how to spot Greenwashing is to share that knowledge. 

    Thank you to each one of these amazing makers who shared their tips and tricks for spotting Greenwashing. Now that you know them, trust me you will start to see the green sheen, and even better, you will see the brands who are genuinely putting in the effort to be sustainable clearer too.

    View Reel on Zara's Greenwashing

    View Reel on Urban Outfitters's Greenwashing

    View my LIVE with Nadine from Mayana Geneviere

    I sourced information for this blog post from the below places.

    #1. Earth Island

    #2. Slow Factory; Greenwashing + Wokewashing/ Why you Should Avoid Both.

    #3. Green Queen 

     #4. Panapruim 

    Jeans: What's the Cost?

    Growing up my dad wore jeans every day - in fact, he still does. Jeans are his uniform. He has his weekend work jeans, his work jeans and his going out jeans, all with different levels of wear. It is well known in our family that Hunter McCaig only wears jeans. I watched my dad wear this garment until they would fall apart, then my step-mom would stitch them back up and he would wear them again. It instilled in my mind how durable jeans can be and when they do get holes, you patch them up and wear them again. I saw how jeans would stay in his closet for years, which is what we should expect from our clothing.

    my dad, the inspiration for the Hunter Jean Jacket

    As I started thrifting, jeans were the garment that helped me see how women were being short changed by the fast fashion industry. When I would go second-hand hunting for jeans, I was always disappointed by the women’s section. These jeans were made from thin, spandex fabric that were always ill fitting, and were designed to fall apart at the seams. When I would head to the men’s section, I found beautiful jeans, made with strong durable cotton twill, with FULL sized pockets. Rather than settle for the fast fashion brands I would shop in the men’s section and I learned how to alter them to fit my waist, again this garment showed me how durable and long lasting it could be, if designed with thought.

    Jeans have a long history that span the globe; they speak to people of any age, race, size or background. Most humans can attest to at least owning one pair of jeans in their lifetime. Although this garment is often seen as humble, fashionable and even democratic, its history is shrouded in capitalism. Despite the fact that the first jean style was patented in 1873, its original components have been around for centuries and are deeply rooted in the darkest part of our worlds history; slavery.

    Indigo is a part of our daily lives, it is in all of our wardrobes, but before it was produced in abundance by enslaved people, the Indigofera Tinctoria plant was used to dye the clothing of royalty and help show their status. It was first grown in Charleston in the 1700’s, when landowners discovered it would grow in areas not suitable for rice, it also acted as a rotation crop in between rice plantings, allowing the crop year to be extended by getting more use out of their land and enslaved. “Slavery wasn’t even legal in Georgia until indigo became the main export in South Carolina, the [British] governors in Georgia decided to legalize slavery to keep the indigo industry going.”1 Profit over human life or environmental cost is the basis for any capitalist endeavour, no more so documented than during America Slavery. The indigo industry was often run completely by enslaved people because of their knowledge of how to grow and harvest the plant, yet their lives were traded for this currency, “it was used literally as currency and they were trading one length of cotton in exchange for one human body.”2 3 

    indigo plant harvest, cotton field, catherine mckinley quotes

    Cotton is a part of our daily lives, it is in all of our wardrobes, sound familiar? While you might not have known the links between indigo production and slavery, the tie between cotton and slavery are well documented. Although cotton has been grown for 7000+ years, it was the trading of this product that pushed its growth to America in the 15th century, subsequently cotton replaced indigo as the key crop in America’ South by the 1800’s. “By 1787 Delegates at the Constitutional Convention were split on the question of human bondage and man’s inhumanity to man, but not its economic necessity. At the time, there were nearly 700,000 enslaved people living in the US, worth an estimated $210 million in today’s dollars.”Karl Marx’s brutal, but accurate quote “without slavery there would be no cotton, without cotton there would be no modern industry” truly captures how human life can be viewed as a commodity, just like machinery.3   We may think that that era is done, that our jeans are no longer made by enslaved people, but that is not true. With the design of jeans and there growth in pop culture, fast fashion jumped on this bandwagon and continues to pump out more styles than we even want.

    1920-1970 evolution of jeans, james dean to gloria steinem

     

     

     

    They were worn by cowboys and miners who needed sturdy and durable workwear. These were very uncomfortable and stiff and never worn on the streets.

     

     

     

     

    This is where jeans blew up and became a pop culture phenomenon, when James Dean wore blue jeans, a white tee and a leather jacket in Rebel Without a Cause, 1955. More and more actors began sporting this uniform, causing public schools to ban jeans in America for being too provocative.

     

     

     

     

    We all know this era was all about free love and the rise of youth culture. Blue jeans were fully embraced and seen as a form of creative expression, extra points if you personalized your jeans.

     

     

     

    At the start of this decade, my favourite icon Gloria Steinem, leader and spokeswoman for the American feminist movement and women’s lib organizer, wore blue jeans as a way to demonstrate gender equality. By the end of the 70’s high fashion started to take notice and in 1976 Calvin Klein was the first designer to show blue jeans on the runway.

    All this brings me back to my story.  Jeans are one of my favourite designs in fashion, whether styled with a tee or dressed up with a blazer, I love them just like many of you do. The origin story of jeans and the materials that make them has a dark history, but there are brands that are working to make jeans that you can be proud to wear. Personally, I wear only thrifted jeans, that is what my budget can afford and I tend to prefer older styles. The designer in me has loved adding upcycled denim projects to the Copious Brand and I will continue to do my part in upcycling the denim that is currently available. Upcycling is a true passion, literally it is time consuming and labour intensive, each Hunter Jean Jacket is made with love and a deep desire to create pieces my client can be proud to wear.  I would like to note that I did not address the environmental impact of making even one pair of jeans, it is HUGE. I will be addressing this in my LIVE @ TBA

     

    Brook Shields was featured in a campaign with the tagline, ‘Nothing can come between me and my Calvin’s’ thrusting jeans into the forefront in the fashion world and putting them in every designer's collection. **Jeans have always had a dark history, but here is when they were thrust into a lot of companies with purely capitalistic ideals.

     

     

     

    With the rise of grunge, jeans became even more casual rather than something you could dress up. Wide legs, carpenter jeans and overalls became very popular.

     

     

     

     

    This is where jeans styles completely blew up and changed a lot for women. Companies needed new styles monthly to sell to the next generation of teens. Low rise, bedazzled, lace up, back pockets disappearing, capris cut, more wash options, colourful options and jeggings took over. It wasn’t that we needed all these options or even liked them, but fast fashion started pumping out more and more styles to drive our consumerism.

     

     

     

    This time was heavily influenced by past decades styles. As far as production it was much the same as the 2000’s, any and every design option was thrown at us to keep us buying the most beloved staple in most of our wardrobes.

     

     

     

     

    All this brings me back to my story.
    Jeans are one of my favourite designs in fashion, whether styled with a tee or dressed up with a blazer, I love them just like many of you do. The origin story of jeans and the materials that make them has a dark history, but there are brands that are working to make jeans that you can be proud to wear. Personally, I wear only thrifted jeans, that is what my budget can afford and I tend to prefer older styles. The designer in me has loved adding upcycled Denim Projects to the Copious Brand and I will continue to do my part in upcycling the denim that is currently available. Upcycling is a true passion, literally it is time consuming and labour intensive, each Hunter Jean Jacket is made with love and a deep desire to create pieces my client can be proud to wear.

    upcycled patchwork denim jacket, reworked jeans

     I would like to note that I did not address the environmental impact of making even one pair of jeans, which is HUGE. I will be addressing this in my Candid Copious LIVE. You can join in on Instagram on Tuesday September 14th @ 7pm.

    Rewatch Candid Copious LIVE

    Locally or Fair Trade Made Jeans:
    Upcycled Jean Designers:
    Resources
    4: Greg Timmons history.com
    Resources for LIVE:

     

     

    From Fast Fashion Consumer to Slow Fashion Lover

    Fourteen years ago, I was graduating from college and had a closet full of clothes, most of which I had no real love for. Even though I was studying fashion and starting my career in the industry, I hadn’t fully developed my personal style or the understanding that your clothes should be an extension of your personality. Clothing is a human necessity, but 20 years ago clothing started to become a human consumption. We stopped buying items that would last us for years and started buying and throwing away clothing at a vigorous rate.
     
    Past generations either made their clothing or purchased from a store or designer that created well-made garments. Without the social urgency to wear new clothing every day, people were investing in pieces that would hold up to constant wear. With the development of the capitalist economy, consumers stopped making their own clothing and indulged in buying more from shops. This shift saw every generation get further away from understanding how their clothing is made. Due to the introduction of offshore manufacturers, prices have been driven down and clothing has gotten cheaper and cheaper, allowing consumers to get in the habit of buying clothing without even asking whether they like it, let alone love it.
     
    With the popularity of fast fashion brands who sent the message that we need new clothing every 2-3 weeks, and who are more than willing to supply us, we have become consumers. I was right there along for the ride, I lived 4 blocks away from an H&M and was there far too often. Every pendulum swings back though and as I became disillusioned with a closet that looked like every other girl, I started to analyze myself and my own personal style, looking at what kind of pieces I would need in my closet for life. It took me awhile to develop this style, maybe that comes with age and being more secure in wearing whatever I want, but now when I walk into my closet I always have something to wear, because I have invested in pieces that reflect myself, that are well made, and that make me feel good and look good. From my band tees I have collected from local resellers, to my vintage Penny Lane Jacket that I got for $60 at a second-hand shop, made over 40 years ago and still in perfect condition, to my Frye Boots which I waited years to be able to afford, but will last me forever and of course my Hunter Jean Jacket, Denim Carryall & all my classic Copious pieces. Each item holds sentimental value and when I wear them I feel like me, what more could we ask from these items that we spend our hard-earned money on, but for them to bring us joy and help us express our style and personal identity?
    Hunter Jean Jacket, vintage band tees, thrifted fashion, secondhand clothing
     
    This is just the start of the story, from here I want to explore with you what quality we should demand from our clothing and the people selling it, how we can spot throw-away trends, invest in staples, and how damaging our over consumption is to the environment. This series is not here to point the finger, that is why I started with my story, the one where I was an over consumer of things that brought me no joy. Together I want to learn more about what we can all do to enjoy fashion in a responsible way.
    Rewatch the CANDID COPIOUS LIVE