The intro to an insightful article by NATHALIE ATKINSON in the 13/07/06 issue of THE NATIONAL POST.
For the complete article; http://life.nationalpost.com/2013/07/06/they-make-it-here-or-do-they-the-confusing-and-opaque-search-for-clothing-thats-truly-made-in-canada/
They make it here, or do they? The confusing and opaque search for clothing that’s truly Made in Canada
To open Vancouver handbag designer Erin Templeton’s fall lookbook, I first had to tear through a large red and white Made in Canada sticker. If only all fashion brands did the same!
In the wake of the Bangladesh garment factory deaths following a building collapse in April, I offered my services to stymied readers who wanted help to source and identify reasonably priced, accessible Made in Canada apparel.
You took me up on that offer, and six weeks later, I’m still at it, almost daily. The mail bag runneth over.
Overall, my correspondents want to avoid even indirect support of the broken chain of supply and demand that contributed to the situation in Bangladesh. But there’s also a renewed — and in some cases, newly sparked — interest in actively seeking out and supporting Canadian brands, big and small, that are trying to make a go of producing apparel at home.
Along the way, Jesse Mann reminded me about the documentary he made about Toronto designer Bruno Ireullo (materialsuccess.ca), and Canadian Kate Black wrote to introduce herself and Magnifeco.com, her digital source for eco-fashion and sustainable living, an international guide read in 120 countries on where to find and what to look for in ethical fashion, worldwide.
But this isn’t a piece about the whys of buying Made in Canada; I’ve written that one before, and readers likely have their own reasons. This is about the hows, the whats and the wheres. It turns out these are much harder questions to answer.
And before you ask — no, the Internet doesn’t help. It’s a time-consuming, one-by-one process. The larger the retailer or brand is, the more likely they’re diversified with a mix of domestic and offshore production, and vague about specifics — which, admittedly, change from season to season.
Other than on content tags sewn into the garment (by law, each must state country of manufacture), it’s tricky. You have to ask companies specific, direct questions, case by case, or else go into the stores and check the content label firsthand.
To be clear, our industrial textile industry is long gone. Made in Canada usually means produced with imported fabric, although sewn by hands at sewing machines, or in the case of things like hosiery and shoelaces, knitted at top speed by mechanical looms, under supervision by Canadian humans.
The tricky part is deciphering which of a label’s styles and/or categories of clothing is actually “Made in Canada.”