5 stylish Canadian yoga wear brands committing to more sustainable practices
These makers are striving for greener production — and not sacrificing on look or feel in the least
When it comes to clothes, no doubt about it, Canadians love athleisure. Market research company The NPD Group found that although Canadian apparel sales decreased a bit in 2017, activewear brands were still going strong; with $6.2 billion in sales, these brands made up 23 per cent of the overall apparel and basics industry. At the same time, more mindful buying is on the rise. A full third of respondents in a recent PwC Canadian consumer insights survey said they actively seek out sustainable, environmentally friendly products, while 28 per cent said they opt for brands with sustainable practices when shopping.
With these trends in mind, we've rounded up five yoga brands that prioritize sustainable practices without sacrificing style.
Prana Vida uses fabric that's mainly a blend of Tencel Lyocell fibre and organic cotton (not to mention, Lyocell makes the leggings feel silky and look sleek). Currently, some spandex is used for stretch, but the brand's creator Amelia Barnes says she is working to source a new fibre, Sorona, to make the leggings fully biodegradable. The material is also OEKO-TEX certified, which means it meets high standards of environmental and human safety. Plus, the brand boasts a range of sizes (from 00 to 24) and a maternity-friendly line.
Not only do Seed pants look hip as heck, the brand's clothing is comprised of mainly hemp and organic cotton, with just four per cent spandex. Owner Blake Ward says that 80 per cent of Seed pants in stock are dyed using the roots and leaves of plants — no synthetics added (when produced in small quantities, as Seed's clothing is, these dyes can be low-impact). While the clothes are already manufactured in Calgary, Seed's goal is to produce all of its clothing from local hemp crops by 2020 too.
Although Zen Nomad's clothing is certainly boho-inspired, the neutral colour palette and simple lines add balance to their aesthetic. The natural fibres the company uses, from organic cotton to Tencel Lyocell to hemp, require minimal or no pesticides to grow, and owner Sonja den Elzen sometimes hand-harvests the plants and dyes the materials herself. She saves and uses the leftover scraps from manufacturing, and also makes a point of buying the overstock fabrics from bigger designers, thereby repurposing what would otherwise have been waste.
If you've tried on a pair of Inner Fire leggings, you may have noticed their smooth, form-fitting feel, but you may not have realized that they're made from recycled, BPA-free water bottles. According to a 2016 study from the World Economic Forum, at least eight million tonnes of plastic leaks into the ocean every year, so while these leggings aren't biodegradable, repurposing post-consumer water bottles means less plastic in landfills, thus less in our oceans. Passionate about the health of local waterways too, B.C.-based Inner Fire has raised money to support the Standing Rock water protectors.
Each item in Respecterre's down-to-earth yoga collection is made in an ecovillage in Quebec. La Cité Écologique aims to eliminate overstock waste; several pieces of their clothing are made to order, and when you do go to check out, you'll be given the option of plastic-free packaging. For many companies, using fabrics with eco certifications can be out of reach, but many of Respecterre's textiles meet OEKO-TEX standards.