Spring is a time for embracing the earth — and cleaning closets. According to Malorie Bertrand, these two go hand in hand. The Ottawa resident and stylist/blogger has been pushing the sustainable fashion envelope for years; for her, sustainable fashion is an approach that aims to minimize ecological impacts and social burdens in every aspect of clothing production.
Bertrand recently launched an online store, Either/Or, to help connect shoppers with Canadian designers. Buying Canadian reduces the stresses — both environmental and social — associated with the international textile industry. Plus, many Canadian designers create small collections that emphasize fewer items of high quality, promoting a ‘less is more’ strategy when it comes to building a wardrobe.
Here, Bertrand and Ottawa Magazine suggest versatile, beautiful pieces for spring and summer.
The Crescent Moon Top by Duffield Design has a scoop neckline and a long, round hemline in the back. Made in nearby Dunrobin with bamboo/cotton/spandex fabric, it whispers “luxury” while being understatedly cool. “Bamboo is breathable, soft, and durable. Bamboo trees regenerate in 55 days, require no pesticides and little irrigation to grow. And when the garment has finished its life cycle with you, it’s biodegradable!” says designer Megan Duffield. $120. Available at shopeitheror.com.
Devlyn van Loon
Toronto’s Devlyn van Loon brings an edgy style to her versatile separates. The palazzo shorts ($145, also shown below) are made with prewashed cotton (so they won’t get any shorter), while the Shibori-dyed tank top ($180) features a repurposed dead stock fabric that has been hand-dyed in studio. “Since everything is made to order, in house, it is very easy to alter our patterns to minimize fabric waste,” says van Loon. Available at devlynvanloon.com.
The breezy Mayfair dress by Amanda Moss is a mid-length dress made of semi-sheer linen gauze. The result is a timeless, feminine piece for day and night. Other pieces in the Amanda Moss 2017 spring/summer collection include additional linen dresses, linen tops, and dresses and separates made of soft, lightweight denim. Moss, shown below wearing the Mayfair dress, hand-cuts every piece in her Montreal studio and prides herself on running ethically managed workshops. $289. Available at amandamoss.ca.
Out of the Blue
Every item in the Twiss & Weber shop seems to tell a story — this silk scarf ($60), for example, was made in India but comes to Ottawa by way of a local woman who visits India often. But most items are made in store; this relaxed-fit blazer ($249, also shown below) is made with lightweight beech-tree rayon, which offers the best of linen and silk — without the hassle of wrinkling. And it has a hidden pocket! Twiss & Weber, 1282 Wellington St. W.