March’s Featured Designer ~ Elroy Apparel

Since Planet Claire opened in 2008, the focus has always been on ethically produced and sustainable clothing. See details here.  80% of the clothing carried is made here in Vancouver, and until recently has always been made by local people (local to where the designer is, whether that is Canada, the U.S, or Europe).  Elroy is one of the exceptions, having recently re-located it’s manufacturing in Indonesia. Does this fulfill your desire to be ethical and sustainable? Read and decide for yourself, as I have made my decision, and the answer is 100% YES.

Elroy chooses to create ethical fashion – the design, sourcing, materials and manufacturing of the clothing is environmentally conscious and socially responsible. It is Elroy’s  goal to lead the way in delivering great quality, sustainable, fairly traded and beautiful clothing. They hope to educate and empower our clients to become more aware of their buying power and environmental footprint, and to encourage more conscious decision making.

The philosophy seems simple enough – design, sourcing, materials and manufacturing as environmentally conscious and socially responsible as possible. The statistics don’t lie. We are relying far too much on fossil fuels and our daily consumption is wreaking havoc on the earth.

By now, these phrases have been embedded in our brains: organic, sustainable, green, recycled, ethical. Elroy has proven (since being established in 2007) that these statements do not ensure that style nor expense need be sacrificed. By educating consumers to become more aware of their ecological footprint and empowering their influential buying power, the hope is to encourage more conscious decision making. Of course, solutions are not only found in the materials being used. There is just as much importance in where and how clothing is produced.

In the beginning, Elroy was produced domestically. However, in 2009 designer Leanne McElroy set off for Indonesia.  She began a sustainable employment project focused around a small, family-run ‘cottage industry.’ The project is based around the framework of a small, self-run sewing cooperative.  Leanne had the privilege to work beside an incredible group of artisans, who had been struggling to find any type of permanent work. They all have the skills necessary to be very successful, however, where they are lack are the areas of design, development and marketing.  Leanne now lives in Indonesia half the year, is there during the sampling and production times, and makes sure all the standards are in place for the workers in production, and the end quality of produced garments.  Leanne is still the designer,  creates all patterns, and is involved in every detail of the clothing being made. This is the way it will remain – on location and hands on.

Domestically, eco-friendly material sourcing can be very drab and difficult. With the rise of more companies looking to greener fabrics, it seemed that fabrics were getting more and more similar in each designers collection. May of these fabrics are coming from overseas, and in Indonesia, Elroy has established relationships with suppliers and fabric mills, ensuring that all organic materials used have certificates.  Elroy is the only Canadian designer I know of to use pineapple silk in their collection, an incredibly beautiful textile, and very sustainable. Most recently, due to the large garment industry found in the area, Elroy has discovered ‘upcycled’ fabrics to supplement our collections. These are fabrics that are scraps or end-of-rolls from large factories that are no longer being used, and therefore are just gathering dust. By saving them we are able to create unique and limited edition pieces, and keep the fabrics from heading to the landfill unused and unloved.

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~ by Planet Claire on March 1, 2011.

2 Responses to “March’s Featured Designer ~ Elroy Apparel”

  1. I’m writing this all the way from Australia and one of my up coming favourite eco designers I only recently met the other weekend whilst browsing Sydney’s Paddington Markets. Her label is Henryetta and you can find details on my blog

  2. […] carried at Planet Claire that is not made in Canada, something I have delved into in great detail here.  While it is my goal to remain as local as possible, I also feel the need to have something (in […]

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