A Message from the Designer & Founder: Why I choose to Manufacture in Toronto, Canada
These days you hear the term "sustainable fashion" being thrown around a lot. It's a term that is often misused and misunderstood. I'll be the first to admit that when I first heard the term, I had not-so-chic visions of gowns made out of recycled burlap sacks! The reality is, sustainable fashion can most definitely be chic and in my case is more a question of manufacturing choices than it is of design or style sacrifices.
Before Viertola Studios truly came to life, I was in the thick of the research phase. I had to answer 2 key questions; where am I going to purchase the fabric from and where will I have the clothing manufactured? When I took a look through my closet at some of my favourite pieces, I noticed that hardly any of them were made in Canada, never mind Toronto. When you see that, you can't help but think of the #WhoMadeMyClothes movement that occurred in response and in remembrance of the 1,138 garment workers who were killed when the Rana Plaza factory collapsed on 24 April 2013.
As I reflected on this, other questions came to mind; how did these clothes get to my closet from overseas? What was the cost literally, ethically and environmentally? And after all that, is the quality actually any good? Or am I going to wear it for one season and then toss it?
With those thoughts in mind, I decided to purchase fabric and manufacture in Toronto for a 4 simple reasons:
1. Human Rights
We are proud to work with an amazing local manufacturing company which is mainly comprised of women. There is no question that these women work hard but they do so in a clean and safe environment and are paid fair wages. When you ask #WhoMadeMyClothes, if it's a Viertola Studios piece you can rest assured that it was someone in Toronto in a factory that is more than above board.
Choosing to manufacture locally has allowed us to keep our production runs small. This means less waste, less shipping and less impact on our environment. As a customer, you also benefit in that you will not see our pieces on every other person. Small production runs mean our pieces are more unique! Further to that, with everything being local, we reduce our carbon footprint with shipping, which in turn cuts down on the cost of the clothes for our customers. Win, win!
With both the fabric supplier and factory practically in my back yard, I'm able to be a part of the design and manufacturing process from point A right through to the end. This ensures the design and quality is as it should be so that you can wear the pieces over and over again, without fear of them falling apart. When you no longer wish to wear them, the pieces will still be in good shape for someone else to enjoy!
4. I LOVE Toronto
The final reason is a simple one but an important one: I love Toronto! Toronto has been very good to me and I love to support local businesses whenever I can so this beautiful city will continue to flourish. I am SO proud to call Viertola Studios not only a Canadian label but more specifically, a Toronto label!
As a final note, I don't claim to have all the answers on how to solve all sustainability issues in the industry, nor do I think Viertola Studios is perfect in this respect. That said, I do feel that it is important to reflect on how the fashion industry is dealing with the undeniably negative impact it has on both people and our planet and how we can work to find solutions.