Updated: Dec 29, 2020
These days it's hard to find a brand of clothing that you can sit comfortably with in mind, body and soul. As sustainable shoppers we strive to find clothes that fit beyond just our bodytype or sense personal style - we're looking for an ethical match too. Tonlé is a clothing company who are trying to make a radical shift in the fashion industry.
One of the world’s first zero-waste brands, Tonlé’s zero-waste journey starts at fabric sourcing. The design team visits factories to source scrap material to get the waste fabric before it hits the landfill. Excess fabric is put into the recycled paper they make in house, or is hand woven back into new yarn.
At Tonlé, we see fashion differently – from the way it’s made to the way it’s worn. We see it as encouraging the unique in everyone who touches our clothing, from maker to wearer.
There are generally two strategies for zero-waste fashion: creative pattern making that uses 100% of a given material, and generating garments from remnant materials. The only approach the staff at Tonle felt truly honored their sustainability philosophy was a marriage of the two.
The company claims 'every thread matters', and they mean it. From the people who work on the clothing to using every single scrap of fabric that comes through the workshop, they care about every step in the process of getting a piece of clothing to your hands, and each person who touches it along the way.
Tonle partnered with Greenstory to help quantify the impact of your purchases with through their website, which you can now see on each product page. Here is how the impact is calculated.
Producing a 220 gram t-shirt in a conventional manner uses the following avoidable resources:
2,700 liters of water, the average amount a person drinks over three years
approximately 6 kilograms of carbon for manufacturing alone, almost 30 times the final weight of the t-shirt itself.
Creating cloth from scratch requires agriculture, fabric production and dyeing. These stages have massive CO2 emissions, water consumption, pesticides, and harmful chemicals associated with them. Our zero waste process of making of clothing from factory scraps eliminates these steps and avoids CO2 emissions, unnecessary water usage, and harmful pollution from dying and pesticides. Using recycled packaging and avoiding the use of single use plastics also significantly cuts back on our carbon footprint, and even reduces the shipping footprint because items can be packed more tightly.
Rachel Faller spoke to Mother Nature Network about the beginnings of her business: I started the first iteration of my business in 2008. At that time, I was most focused on creating sustainable livelihoods for women in Cambodia, where I was living. But in a place like Cambodia, environmental issues and social justice issues are so intertwined that you can't tackle one while ignoring the other. Case in point is the fact that many of the fabrics that are wasted in factories end up polluting Cambodia's waterways, which are the backbone of fisheries and livelihoods for rural communities, or being burned and contributing to worsening air quality that directly impacts people's lives. And climate change has a very real and documented effect on social issues as well.
So initially, I started designing around second-hand materials, as there was a lot of second-hand clothing flooding into the markets in Cambodia. But while searching the markets for these materials, I began to come across bundles of scrap fabric that were being sold — which were clearly off-cuts from garment factories. Sometimes they were half-finished garments with the tags still in them. After doing a little more digging and speaking to many people in the markets, I was able to trace these scraps back to large remnant dealers and the factories that the scraps came from in the first place. It was around 2010 that we really switched our efforts toward working with these scrap fabrics, and 2014 that we were able to achieve a zero-waste production model with the scraps from other companies.
For the first official V. spotlight I would like to highlight a company owned and operated by my friend and fellow animal rights activist Tosha Lobsinger. Tosha is an all-around badass who has been speaking up for animals in the community since before I can remember! The Peace People Project was born out of a deep love for our world and a yearning for peace for all beings. Between adventures and activism, Tosha now frequently visits local thrift shops to source previously-loved pieces of clothing to create apparel to advocate for a better world without harming it in the process.
All of Tosha's apparel is 100% thrifted - meaning each piece is totally unique and selected just for you! Her catchy and memorable slogans are aimed at helping others make the connection to the living beings we choose to put on our plates. Often seen at VegFests or local vegan shops, her t-shirts, hats and other selections almost always sell out fast since no two are exactly alike.
"Peace People Project is a commitment to spreading a message of peace for all beings. It's a celebration of the ethical, intersectional, zero-waste vegans and activists of the world. Peace People Project aims to build community and strengthen the movement through social, educational and outreach events. " - from their fb page.
We love the Peace People Project because it is a conscious clothing line with messages to invoke mindfulness and to shift perspectives. Each item helps plant vegan seeds of compassion not just to other animals but to the humans we share the planet with as well. The clothes are pre-loved so they're already comfortably worn-in - even the schnazzy denim pieces.
All pieces are second hand (for the earth!) & are printed with plant ingredients (for the animals!).
Tosha also has a variety of pins and magnets available to go with her apparel pieces - eat plants and plant seeds with each little message!
But even with all that, the most amazing asset of Tosha and the Peace People Project might be the fact that it gives back so much. Tosha has committed to donating 50% of all profits to farm sanctuaries making this clothing initiative truly compassionate and dedicated to giving back to the community.
Please take a moment to check out The Peace People Project website and give them a 'like' on Facebook to stay in the loop about what's next for this company!
Updated: Dec 29, 2020
As far as fall fashion is concerned we love how things are heating up (even as they're cooling down) this season! Here are a few of our fav vegan inspired items this month. Check out the entrepreneurs and brands behind these compassionate creations!
These super cute hoop earrings are from Mishakaudi a bohemian inspired brand from Spokane , Washington. These 1.25'' diameter hoops are gold plated and super elegant! You can purchase online here or visit their website for more info and options!
Who doesn't love a beautiful bracelet that just so happens to promote a compassionate message? This trio was found on etsy on the Ottawa Valley Vegan shop and as a set they simply are too cute! Handmade and hand pressed, these totally unique textured bangles are made of brass and tarnish resistant.
End Speciesism and help others make the connection by sporting this fab t-shirt designed and created by The Activist Project. Simple white on black messaging means it's legible and easy for most passer's by to take note. A great conversation starter for the folks who might otherwise be afraid of the 'v' word but are curious about what speciesism is.
Love them all! Of course we do! Art meets compassionate fashion in this simple tee designed by Veganized World. Encourage people to make the connection every-where you go - why love one but eat the other? All animals deserve love.
Don't be afraid of shouting it to the rooftops - be 'vegan AF' in this styled long-sleeve by VibeTees on etsy! Wear it off the shoulder or with a scarf for a casual yet comfortable look that's perfect for the fall weather!
Take a peek at the Ella enchanted mini skirt by the Helpful Vegan - it's too cute to pass up! The wrap-around look makes for a comfortable layering piece and adjusts to any body shape.
Snap to it and snag one of these pretty poppin' skirts from FreePeople. Available in two colours: Sienna or chestnut this stylish lined skirt is perfect for fall! Full snap button closure up the front and two pockets make for a cute yet practical addition to any wardrobe.
Whether you're wearing them to a local protest or going for an autumn hike - these black booties from Yellow Shoes are lightweight and stylish and perfect for any occasion. Manmade microfibres mean no animals were harmed in the making of this shoe and a memory foam cushioning on the insole naturally contours feet for all-day comfort and support so you can focus on what matters - the animals!
Now that it's time to ditch the sandals and start covering up those toes we might as well put our best foot forward. These Cora boots from Novacas give us the best of both worlds - stylish yet secured. Check out the selection on the MooShoes website for more options.
The Love Life Live Vegan scarf is a unique piece created by Studio Shim in London, Ontario. Their scarves are created to mimic the fluid drape of a silk scarf without the unnecessary exploitiation in their materials. The hand drawn design is printed in Canada and a portion of this collection goes to helping the London Vegan Food Bank. Available for purchase on their website here.
This dark heather toque from Animal Justice is not only stylish but serves a greater purpose as well. Animal Justice is leading the legal fight for animals in Canada. Their teams of lawyers work to pass strong new animal protection legislation, push for the prosecution of animal abusers, and fight for animals in court. By supporting their efforts, you're supporting the animals of Canada too.
Simply Plant Food are a mother and daughter duo dedicated to sustainable fashion. They create vegan cork bracelets, wallets and other accessories! Cork is an Eco-friendly material that is naturally water and stain resistant. Check out their full selection of items on their website.
This adorable and simple black backpack from Pixie Mood is perfect for on the go in all weather. Based out of Toronto, Canada, Pixie Mood is an vegan-friendly accessories brand launched in 2010. Their team strives to provide cruelty-free accessories to those who love animals. All products are made with vegan materials ensuring nothing is harmed in making the products.