Fair trade clothing in Canada (capsule wardrobe) on the Rosette Network
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Fair trade clothing in Canada: the capsule wardrobe

If I had a dime for every time someone asked me where to find basic, minimalist fair trade clothing in Canada, I’d be a billionaire.

The fair trade clothing movement has been steadily gaining momentum as more and more folks realize how unsustainable fast fashion is. (For planet, yes, but especially for people, as shown in the 2013 Rana Plaza incident.) Even in Canada, which isn’t usually able to keep up with Europe in the fair trade area, fair trade and sweatshop-free clothing is discussed more and more among businesses and consumers in 2020.

At the same time, minimalism and zero waste have seen a huge spike in the past few years. In the ’90s, the idea of a zero waste lifestyle was laughable to most, but now there are tons of people who are ditching single-use plastic altogether and investing in long-term belongings. Fast fashion is met with raised eyebrows by more and more Canadians. Many of these folks have started a capsule wardrobe that will last them a long time and help them reduce their clothing consumption (and disposal).

This is really positive for the planet, but it also complicates the fair trade situation. You see, most fair trade clothing isn’t exactly neutral-looking and doesn’t fit neatly into this minimalist aesthetic in most cases. Want big, block-printed batik dresses, or brightly-coloured, upcycled handbags? Fair trade’s got you! But if you’re looking for a simple tank top or a pair of leggings, you typically get left out in the cold. Especially if you live in Canada, where fair trade isn’t as big a market as elsewhere.

Fair trade clothing for Canadians

This lack of options was a problem that I took really seriously and wanted to be part of solving. Why can’t Canadians buy a simple legging? Why aren’t there athletic wear basics for us that are fair trade, organic and made with longevity in mind? What about a simple but comfortable tank top that fits well and will last a long time?

It was 2019 when Rosette Fair Trade entered the world. (It’s bananas to think about how far it’s come in only a little over a year!) Right away, I set to searching for basic fair trade clothing.

I came across Green Campus Cotton, which makes our super cute pineapple t-shirts, and I knew I wanted to partner with them. But all they had was t-shirts. Because fair trade clothing in Canada is such a new market, so few companies are making it at all, so a small operation like Green Campus Cotton is about as good as we can get. They’re the kind of dedicated, tiny, and courageous social entrepreneurs that always lead the way.

So I had to go elsewhere, which is familiar territory for me. (After all, I import Oxfam Fair Trade products from Europe already!) Enter Maggie’s Organics!

Buying Maggie’s Organics in Canada

Maggie’s Organics actually started as Maggie’s Socks because they specialized in socks at first. But now they have beautiful, essential, minimalist pieces that are perfect for those trying to build a capsule wardrobe.

Only problem is Maggie’s is in the USA. Some brick-and-mortar stores carry Maggie’s, but they’re few and far between in Canada. And what’s more, if you don’t happen to be local, how are you supposed to get your hands on these beautiful pieces? Online options like Rosette are necessary.

Rosette Fair Trade is now carrying Maggie’s Organics essentials!

Want a basic legging? How about a super comfy, organic cotton legging in black?

Organic cotton basic leggings by Maggie's Organics (black) on Rosette Fair Trade

Looking for an incredibly comfy, basic cotton short? We’ve got the unisex jersey short in black.

Organic cotton unisex shorts by Maggies Organics (black, front) on Rosette Fair Trade

In need of a super breathable and simple t-shirt for your next workout? Try the (reversible!) essential women’s tee in flattering grey!

Organic cotton womens t-shirt by Maggies Organics (charcoal grey) on Rosette Fair Trade

If you’re feeling like a bit more colour, we’ve also got the absolutely gorgeous, sky blue Spring tank top. And like the women’s t-shirt, it’s also reversible, so you can wear it as a scoop or v-neck, depending on your mood!

Organic cotton spring tank by Maggies Organics on Rosette Fair Trade

Making this type of essential fair trade clothing available in Canada has been my absolute pleasure. I’m so glad that these in-demand items are now available to Canadians from coast to coast! And even though Rosette only has a few items available for now, that will grow with time as well!

New options in Canadian fair trade clothing

Maggie’s is great, but what about other brands that are Canadian-owned? Check out my post on the top 6 fair trade clothing brands in Canada, where I outline what’s currently available overall. Some of the items aren’t as basic and versatile as what we talked about today, but they’re still ethical and beautiful.

Also, stay tuned, because I’ll be keeping an eye on the Canadian fair trade clothing market, as always! If something new pops up, we’ll be sure to keep you posted!

In the meantime, thank you for supporting the amazing fair trade brands that are making clothing in ways that put people and planet first!

In solidarity,

Lia

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