Canada / Environment / Fashion / Lifestyle / Montreal

Ethically Warm – Eco-friendly Winter Jackets Made in Quebec

While walking down Wellington Street in Verdun, a small quartier on the outskirts of Downtown Montreal I came across a Pop Up Shop organized by the SDC of Wellington Street. The Pop Up Shop allows local and smaller entrepreneurs to showcase their products in a retail shop to gain brand awareness, meet new customers and sell their products. As the cost of having an actual retail shop is tough for emerging entrepreneurs this allows them almost a trial run as they build the sales needed. I thought it was such a cool idea after the owner and founder Alexandra Gavrila of Ethically Warm had explained to me. It was her cute merchandising and glowing logo that had caught my eye and lured me in. As we got talking, I got more excited about her business and product. I decided to come back to take photos and write a piece about her brand and admirable mission.

Ethically Warm Winter Jackets made in Quebec local pop up shop

The origins of Ethically Warm Brand and Mission

“I founded Ethically Warm because I felt powerless in regards to climate change…I hope that by democratizing the access to sustainable products, I can empower people to become actors of change as well. Together we can create a truly sustainable, plastic free and kinder future. I have surrounded myself with a talented line up of people. Together they have more than 50 years of experience in sustainability, fashion design and business.” 

-Alexandra Gavrila

Read more about the mission, brand and products on the Ethically Warm website.

Sustainable, Vegan & Biodegradable

While it is good to be skeptical of companies claiming their products to be biodegradable, this one does come as close as it can for an outerwear jacket, claiming to be 80% biodegradable. I did press Alex a bit into the details, as I have worked many years in the Apparel industry and worked alongside outerwear brands like Moose Knuckles and Pajar so I do have a bit of knowledge on Outerwear construction and production, minimal on that product category but vast experience in the manufacturing industry. She really has done her research and well thought out the details, obstacles and materials needed to make such claims. I was more than impressed by her knowledge and overall understanding of Outerwear manufacturing and design considering she studied business, not design nor worked in the industry. And while the pricepoint reflects the high quality materials and construction, it still remains competitive with the bigger players not using the same level of eco-friendly stature. Ethically Warm prioritizes natural fibers, innovative technologies and to potentially return to the earth at the end of its life cycle. Considering 24kg of clothing is thrown out on average per person in Quebec, (according to recyc-quebec and Ethically Warm’s Website), any improvement to apparel products makes a difference. 

I mention more about overconsumption and Sustainable Fashion in another blog post.

Materials that are natural and biodegradable:
  • Outer shell is made of Waxed Cotton Canvas that has been proofed in Scotland
  • Insulation is made up of Primaloft Bio* a biodegradable* vegan friendly insulation (launched this years and Ethically Warm is one of the first to incorporate it)
  • Pocket interiors are made from bamboo that has been dyed and sewn in Montreal allowing oversight of environmental norms and reduced emissions of importation
Materials / Details that are not (yet) biodegradable:
  • The interior lining is made of recycled nylon (from the ocean!) – nylon is preferable to prevent odor and better care of products
  • Zippers are not biodegradable but they are made locally in Montreal as well as ethically made in Switzerland* (another goal of Ethically Warm to develop a biodegradable zipper option)

Locally Made in the “Fashion Capital” of Montreal

Anyone who studied fashion or worked in the Canadian industry pre-fast fashion, they would know the port city of Montreal was once the Mecca of fashion design and apparel manufacturing for Canada in its prime.  Any Canadian history buff would also know the origins of the French culture in Canada and Quebec’s 400 year old history dates back to the French fashion sending fur traders to the New world in search of fur for their luxury clientele. While Chabanel and St Laurent hosts the head offices of the Import and Exporters of the Apparel world, there are still smaller factories, suppliers, and makers in Montreal and Quebec. Ethically Warm is one independent brand that still produces in Canada. Their pocket linings are dyed and sewn in Quebec, some zippers produced in Montreal and the overall construction of the products made in Quebec. From conception to delivery, Ethically Warm products are Canadian made and Inspired by the cold Quebec winters for those who do not want to compromise values with function and fashion!

More than just ethically made winter Jackets

While the main product line is winter jackets including a cozy Parka Style and quilted hooded zip up lighter jacket, Ethically Warm also offers cute merch and accessories. Some accessories are made up of leftover testing fabrics like Cactus leather and high quality felt, like the Cactus Leather Mittens and felt Laptop cases. But Ethically Warm also sells cute hoodies and Tees featuring artwork from one of my favorite Quebec artists Outofthe (which is also a beautiful detail printed on the jacket’s interior lining). Maybe the brand price point is out of your budget (while investing in a high quality Winter coat will actually save you money in the long run), you are still able to grab some cute ethically produced products and support an emerging sustainable brand. 

Spoiler Alert*: Ethically Warm Vests are coming on to Pre-sales soon!

Pop Up Shops and Online Sales

While Ethically Warm is still in the process of getting permanent space in local retail shops, they do offer frequent pop up shops and always offer online shopping on their website. From now until the end of November you can go try on and buy your favorite jacket or accessory at  3804 Rue Wellington, Verdun Quebec just a quick walk from the De L’eglise Metro station. Grab a bite at one of the local restaurants, highly recommend Archway (specializing in a vegan menu and organic wines) or Rita with amazing pizza and pasta for the Italian lover. More to come on my favorite spots on Wellington Street in another blog post to come. Ethically Warm can also be found at an upcoming pop up at BKind on St. Laurent for the holiday shopping. 

Ethically Warm Pop Up Dates and Hours:

Ethically Warm Pop Up Shop at 3804 Rue Wellington 

Monday – Closed

Tuesday – Closed

Wednesday – Friday – Noon-7pm

Saturdays – Noon-5pm

Sundays – Noon-4pm

Ethically Warm Pop Up Shop at BKind

Holiday Shopping for your loved ones! –  December 10-11 (Hours to be announced).

* Follow Ethically Warm’s IG account for details and more news!

Shop Online

Online Shopping anytime on their Website!

Hint: Take advantage of Free shipping and a discount code!

How can you support emerging Quebec brand Ethically Warm?

  • Follow and like on Social Media – Instagram: @ethicallywarm Facebook: Ethically Warm
  • Buy one of their fabulous and sustainable products or merch! Shop Online
  • Share their website, pop up events and social platforms to friends looking for a sustainable and fashionable winter jacket!

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