We will spare you the whole “new year, new you” thing, but if you are in wardrobe-revamp mode or “being a better person” was on your resolutions list, why not make fashion purchases where it counts?

We recently came across an inspirational Vancouver-based conscious apparel company, NOVEL SUPPLY CO. The creator, Kaya Dorey, received the United Nations’ Young Champion of the Earth Prize back in November 2017 for the unique environmental work that she’s doing to disrupt the fashion industry. This award adds rocket fuel to NOVEL’s mission, which according to their website, is to create, design and supply rad products that shift the stigma of sustainability.

Photo by Cassandra Casley, Twist & Shutter
Kaya Dorey, Creator of NOVEL SUPPLY CO. Photo by Cassandra Casley,
Twist & Shutter

In addition to these efforts, they are also employing a ‘closed-loop’ philosophy of production, creating a ‘take-back’ program. The company will accept used NOVEL garments to upcycle, downcycle or compost the fabric to avoid having another piece of clothing end up in the landfill.   NOVEL SUPPLY CO. makes the most conscious choices when it comes to fabrics (hemp and organic cotton), eco inks (no heavy metals, phalate or PVC), thread, packaging and shipping, all while designing comfortable and stylish basics for the urban adventurer.
With an astounding 80 pounds of textiles going to the landfill per person per year in America, NOVEL SUPPLY CO’s end goal is to create apparel that biodegrades when it is composted at the very end of life.

In a UN press release, Kaya shares her thoughts about sustainable fashion and what the future of fashion looks like:

“No one really thinks about their $5 t-shirt and how that became $5. Garment workers are getting paid lower than livable wage and in terrible working conditions. We have this fast fashion problem, it’s made people think they’re going out of style every single week so they need something new,” says Kaya. “My vision goes well beyond just a clothing line; I really want to make sustainability cool. I want the aesthetic, the design, the creation of the garment to go beyond just a t-shirt.”

“Going forward we need to start caring about what is going into the actual product, that’s why I’m pursuing an automated manufacturing hub locally in Vancouver where we’ll be able to create more product and pay people more – it’s more ethical, it’s more just, and more efficient for businesses.

“I want to create a model that can be used all around the world so that we wouldn’t be taking away jobs, instead we’d be creating different, safer more ethical ones. We can’t do it on our own, it’s just about coming together to make these changes in the world.”

We couldn’t agree more with Kaya’s statements. In order to shift the fashion industry to one that’s more sustainable and ethical, we need to rally together and support companies that are leading this movement so that future generations can enjoy this beautiful planet that we call home.

Here are some of the best ways to put your money where your (stylish and conscientious) mouth is:

  1. Seek out sustainable fabrics made from natural and organic materials (like hemp, linen and cotton) to avoid micro plastics entering our water streams.
  2. Question where and how each garment comes to life. Choose the ones that are produced with ethical, humane, safe, and lawful policies. A certification makes this easy to spot, like a World Responsible Accredited Production (WRAP) certification.
  3. Choose neutral colors that won’t go out of style.
  4. Opt for simple staple pieces that can be mixed and matched for a variety of outfits.
  5. Take your purchasing power to the next level by supporting a company who also gives back to the community, making the world that much better.

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