From the initial inspiration for our designs to the box arriving at your doorstep, Encircled is committed to high ethical standards in everything we do. We constantly review all areas of our business to learn how we can do better. We value progress over perfection. We believe transparency is essential to positive change in the fashion industry. Sustainability and the environment are at the core of every decision we make.
Ethical fashion is defined as, “...an approach to the design, sourcing and manufacture of clothing which maximizes the benefit to people and communities, while minimizing the impact on the environment.”
Encircled’s name originated from the idea that fashion can be full circle.
Ethical fashion is rooted in the belief that fashion can be stylish and accessible to a consumer, without exploiting workers or the environment in the process. It’s the idea that you can feel good about the clothing hanging in your closet because they’re made by an ethical sewing studio, and from fabrics and notions that honour the planet.
100% of our clothing is cut and sewn in Toronto, Canada. This allows us to be more agile, and produce in season and by demand. We can also keep a close eye on quality, working conditions, and nurture solid face-to-face relationships with our sewing studio owners. As we’re made in Canada, inherently our sewing studios are beholden to stringent labour, environmental and safety regulations that other countries just do not have in place.
We value transparency. Unlike many fashion brands, we openly share information about our sewing studios. We invite you to ask us more about our production process at anytime.
Aside from production, we buy a significant portion of our notions (labels, snaps, zippers, thread, and elastic) from Canadian-based suppliers, many of which are family owned and operated small businesses who have been in the fashion industry for years. The same goes for hang tags, and printed materials, down to the screen printing of our labels.
In the case where we can’t source a certain fabric or notion from a North American supplier, we will look to international sources. We put international suppliers through a rigorous vetting process to ensure fair labour practices, high environmental and waste management standards and safe working conditions.
One of the biggest carbon footprints created by fashion is during production. From dying, to sewing, to finishing, the transport of clothing from country to country overseas for different stages of production has a significant impact on the environment. As we’re 100% made in Toronto, Canada, and ship the majority of our clothing within North America, we’re able to keep our carbon footprint low.
Currently, we’re knitting and dying about 25% of our fabric in Toronto. As our business grows, we’re able to knit more fabric locally as the minimum order size is quite high for a small business. As we grow, the knitting industry grows. In 5 years, we hope to be knitting 50% of our fabric in North America.
Our fabrics are chosen for their sustainable benefits, either because of their minimal impact on the environment in production, or their longevity of wear. Our three core fabrics: modal, tencel and bamboo are all naturally-derived, biodegradable, and sustainably sourced from regenerative crops that do not use pesticides and can be grown on non-agricultural land. The dyes used in our core fabrics are OEKO-TEK 100 Standard certified. This means they are free of harmful chemicals which makes them kinder on both your skin, health, and the environment.
The fashion industry is the second largest polluting industry worldwide, next to oil, because of the immense waste created during the manufacturing of clothing. End of roll fabrics, cuttings, and slightly flawed garments are often destined for the landfill. We work closely with our sewing studios to ensure all end of roll fabrics are kept, and we re-use them for sampling or production. Excess fabric cuttings from production are saved and upcycled into smaller accessories like our leg warmers*, headbands* and hair elastics*. And those perfectly imperfect garments? We save them for our semi-annual sample sales.
Want less packaging? We’re on it. Simply leave us a note on the cart page so we can make sure your order is minimally wrapped. All of our shipping materials are recyclable, and our goal is to use all recycled source products in the near future.
We don’t just create collections of clothing to fill space on our website. Every design is created with intention, through a mindful design process that considers the style, versatility, and construction of the garment to an intricate level of detail. We want you to have clothing that you love and actually wear in your closet.
Embedding sustainability in our daily office life is key to living our values authentically. We print on FSC-certified/Rainforest alliance paper, use non-toxic cleaning supplies, and buy exclusively recycled-source paper products. We also stock a selection of fairtrade coffee, snacks and natural goodies to keep our team’s hunger at bay. Even our domain hosting service is wind-powered. Our office space is also proud to be Bullfrog Powered by 100% renewable green energy.
Building a sustainable business is more than just being eco-friendly. It’s ensuring your business practices are financially feasible, so that you can continue to build a business for years to come. By selling directly to you, we can offer accessible price points for our premium garments while garnering funds to reinvest in programs internally, such as above living wage compensation, and comprehensive health and lifestyle benefits for staff.
We view our efforts of doing good in the world through our business model as the biggest donation we can make. We do this by reinvigorating the economy, and bettering the environment through the way we make fashion. Additionally we donate $5 from every verified customer review to the Surfrider Foundation in Canada, who helps protect the world’s oceans, beaches and reefs. It’s a little contribution, but a great organization who’s advocating for our waterways.