Why Made in Canada Matters

June 28, 2017

Made in Canada matters to us, and I think if you're reading this - it matters to you too.

Not because Canada is the best country in the world (though biased - I do think it's pretty great), but because making clothing in a developed country ensures certain things are present that are rarely in place in overseas manufacturing.

By law in Ontario (the province in which we make our clothing in Canada), there are strict labour regulations that govern working hours, working conditions, wages, age required to work, vacation and guard the right to unionize. There are environmental regulations that prohibit dumping fabric dyes in lakes, rivers and waterways. There are building regulations that require fire extinguishers/sprinkler systems, structural soundness, carbon monoxide detector, ample light and ventilation.

The things that you probably think are standard in clothing manufacturing, or business in general, because in your home country - they most likely are. The reality is that in many underdeveloped countries, these conditions are a luxury - not always required, and rarely present or checked up on.

The reality is that the fashion industry is still rife with overseas sweatshops.

These type of sewing operations regularly employ children, have long 16+ hour work days, and have horrendous working conditions, some of which require workers to live on premise. They have limited breaks, poor ventilation, structural issues in the building, no fire extinguishers or fire exits, and above all that - low wages.

We've all seen the tragedies in the past few years; The Rana Plaza factory collapse (1,100+ dead and 2,500+ injured), The Tazreen Factory Fire (117 killed, 200 injured), Mirpur Factory Fire, The Spectrum Factory collapse, and more.

Let me ask you this - is that worth it for an $8 tank top?

Worse yet, many of the brands implicated in these disasters continue to still work in the areas and have provided minimal compensation to victims.

If you haven't done so, I encourage you to watch the documentary The True Cost. It's available on Netflix and takes a stark look at the fashion industry.

If you're buying an $8 tank top - there's a compromise along the way to human rights, the environment, or most likely both.

Let me break down how that might work for an $8 tank top, based on a popular fast fashion retailer's gross margin of 57%.

Inputs to the tank top must total $3.44 to generate a 57% gross margin. That scant $3.44 must cover all of six approximate costs below:

  1. About 1 yard of fabric (including dying and finishing)
  2. Cutting, sewing, pressing, and finishing costs paid to contractor*
  3. Care label, size tag and brand label
  4. Polybagging
  5. Hang tags
  6. Shipping to US/Canada for sale

That's A LOT of stuff to be paid for using that $3.44. So, you can only imagine that even if items 3-6 are about $1 in total, that's $2.44 left to cover the costs paid to the manufacturer and the fabric.

Let's split that $2.44 equally to the leftover costs of #1 Fabric and #2 Sewing.

That's $1.22/yard for fabric, and $1.22/per piece to the sewing contractor.

Fabric

Our fabric is super premium, sustainably sourced, OEKO-TEX 100 certified and in some instances, even knit here in Canada. We average between $8-$20/yard depending on the fibre and quantity. In comparison, paying $1.22/yard for fabric will likely not get you a high quality of fabric, and the fabric will likely not be produced or sourced in a sustainable or ethical way. This cost needs to also cover the creation, dying, finishing and shipping of the fabric. You're probably getting fabric that will warp, shrink and pill after a few washes. It just can't be a resilient fabric at that price, even at the volumes these companies buy.

Sewing Costs

Paying $1.22/per piece to a sewing contractor for a tank top is REALLY low. Keep in mind that $1.22 is what the sewing contractor gets paid NOT the worker. There needs to be significant profit in there for the contractor, and margin to cover their costs. When you break it down that way, the worker is probably earning somewhere between $0.10-$0.25/per piece.

If a garment costs more, does that mean it's ethically made?

Nope.

Sorry.

I wish that was true but there is no research to show that a more expensive good has better working conditions for the sewing team. In some cases, you may see a more premium fabric involved, but in many cases, it's just more margin (profit) for the retailer.

You see, a fast fashion retailer relies more on volume to generate a profit. Whereas a more traditional retailer that has less collections consequently has a higher price because they don't generate the same frequency of sales.

So, how do I know if something is ethically-made?

You'll need to do the legwork to investigate the brand yourself. Le sigh!

Although over the past few years, under pressure from the media, many fast fashion retailers have listed their manufacturers on their website. While I believe that’s a step in the right direction of transparency, it’s often totally useless information.

What these retailers don’t list is how workers are treated, working hours, or even show photos of the places they’re working, or how they’ve performed on audits.

Good news is there are many excellent resources out there who have round-ups of ethically-made brands such as The Good Trade, Sustainably Chic, and Selflessly Styled.

There’s also an app that we just found out about called DoneGood which rates companies on a variety of ethical measures.

The companies who live by their values of ethically-made make it VERY evident on their website. Those that don’t - do that for a reason!

If something is made in a more developed country like Canada, or USA, there is a good chance there’s a fair-treatment of workers and respect for the environment, however, it’s always good to dig deeper as I’ve heard there still are on shore sweatshops, especially in  parts of the USA.

What does designed in (Name the Country) mean?

If you see “Designed in Canada” on a label, it’s a great way to distract you from the fact that it’s made elsewhere. It just simply means the company is likely headquartered in that country. No manufacturing is done in the actual country.

Why we continue to make clothing here

Producing here in Canada has it's benefits for us - and no, we don't get a tax break (I wish!).

We get to keep a close eye on quality, we get to develop amazing relationships with our contractors, as all of ours are just a 30 minute drive away (or less), and we can feel confident knowing that human rights and the environment are being respected.

And guess what? So can you.

We also get the added intangible benefit of knowing that we’re helping rebuild an industry that started to disappear when trade levies were lowered on imports in the 1990s.

That's why supporting Made in Canada should matter to you.

So happy 150th birthday to Canada! We’re proud to be Canadian and be designed AND made 100% in Canada.

I invite you to check out our recently redesigned “Made in Canada” section on our site where you can learn more about each of our contractors. Feel free to email us or reach out on social media if you have any questions about where our clothing is made, or how.

Please continue to ask “Who Made my Clothes” -- it’s so important for consumers to step up and hold brands accountable for driving higher standards in the industry overall.

Remember, you vote with your dollars. Support ethically made.

 

Love travel? Join our League of Travelistas -
A community for women who love to travel. Click here to request access to our private facebook group.

All photos are copyright Encircled. Contact us for permissions/rights to re-use or repost images. 





Also in The Journal

How 8 Fashion Bloggers Styled the Dressy Sweatpants

October 18, 2017 0 Comments

Travel Essentials. Encircled creates versatile minimalist clothes with the everyday traveler in mind. Each piece is Made in Canada, out of sustainable, and eco friendly materials.

Here’s 8 ways to style the Dressy Sweatpants, courtesy of a few of our favourite influencers. Scroll through for some inspiration from work to weekend and everything in between.

Continue Reading

Wearing a Long Sleeve Top, 4 Ways

October 11, 2017 0 Comments

The long sleeve top is a quintessential staple in every wardrobe. You can dress it up, dress it down, drape it loose, or tuck it in. We styled our Essential Long Sleeve Top in 4 different ways to...

Continue Reading

Event Re-Cap: The Encircled In-Studio Social, Fall Edition

October 04, 2017 0 Comments

Last week, we held our very first In-Studio Social! We’d moved from our tiny 600 square-foot studio to a larger space this summer and wanted to celebrate by inviting our customers (you!) to see...

Continue Reading

Encircled Size Charts
Please scroll down to find the size chart for each design. If you have any questions on sizing, please try out our online size recommender or click here to contact us with questions prior to ordering. Size charts are in alphabetical order based on design name.
If you're on our product page viewing the size chart, click anywhere outside of the pop-up (or on the X in the top right corner) to close the size charts, or click here to surf back to our main collection page.

The Chrysalis Cardi

Size
Garment Length (Laid Flat) Garment Width (Laid Flat) Bust 
(inches)
Waist 
(inches)
Hip 
(inches)
Height 

Regular

(xs - xxl)

38" 39.5" 32"-41" 25"-34" 35"-44" 5'2"-6'0"

Petite

(xxs - m)

35" 34.5" 27"-35" 23"-28" 30"-38" <5'4"

Maxi

(xl - xxxl)

43" 41.5" 41"-52" 33"-45" 44"-56" <6'0"

Fit Advice: The Regular Chrysalis Cardi is a one size fits most garment ranging from sizes XS-XXL or 2-14. It can be easily belted in multiple ways, however the Regular is not recommended for petite or shorter woman due to the volume of fabric - See Petite Cardi. The Regular is also not recommended for curvier/taller women due to fabric pulling around the bust or bottom - See Maxi Cardi.

We recommend watching the how-to wear videos to see how much fabric drape and length you would like in your finished garment. If you are in between sizes, it is best to size up and the garment can always be tailored shorter to better suit your look - you cannot add more fabric, unfortunately!

The Petite is best suited for women 5'4" and under with a smaller frame, although it will also work on women above this height (depending on preferred length when styled). 

The Maxi is best suited for all women under 6’0” with a curvier shape to eliminate any uncomfortable fabric pulling, although it will also work on women who are a bit less curvy (depending on preferred length when styled).

*If you have any questions on sizing, please contact us - Remember it is best to provide us with your height and size range of garments that you already own! 

 

The Dressy Sweatpant

WHEN WORN AT NATURAL WAIST

Worn higher up to sit at your natural waist - straight leg tapers from the hip to ankle opening.

Size XS (0-2) S (2-4) M (6-8) L (10-12) XL (14-16)
Waist (inches)
23" - 25"
25" - 28"
28" - 32"
32" - 34"
34" - 37"
Hip (inches)
32" - 34"
35" - 38"
38" - 41"
41" - 44"
44" - 47"
Inseam (inches) 26.5"

Fit Advice: We recommend staying with your usual size if you are in-between sizes. The cut on The Dressy Sweatpants is more generous and the fit is meant to be drapey and slightly loose. 

 

The Essential Long Sleeve Top

Size
0 - 2 (XS) 2 - 4 (S) 6 - 8 (M) 10 - 12 (L) 12 - 14 (XL) 14-16 (XXL)
Bust 28 - 30" 30 - 33" 33 - 36" 36 - 39" 39 - 42"
42 - 45"
Waist 23 - 25" 25 - 27" 28 - 30" 30 - 33" 34 - 36"
36 - 38"
Hips 30 - 32" 33 - 36" 36 - 38" 38 - 41" 41 - 44"
44 - 47"
Front Length / Back Length 24 - 31"
24 - 31"
24 - 31"
24 - 31"
24 - 31"
24 - 31"

Fit Advice: The Essential Long Sleeve Top fits a bit larger than our usual tees. We suggest to order true to your normal size, however since the styling is more flowy than our other Encircled tees, it is suggested to size down if you prefer a tighter look. As the fabric has a natural stretch, it will stretch to fit within ~1-2" of the measurements shown around the chest and hips. 

 

The Evolve Top

Size
0 - 2 (XS) 2 - 4 (S) 6 - 8 (M)
10 - 12 (L)
14 - 16 (XL)
Bust 27.5 - 29.5 " 30.5 - 32.5 " 33.5 - 35.5 " 36.5 - 38.5" 39.5 - 41.5 "
Waist 20-22" 23-25" 26-28" 32-34" 35-37"
Hips 30-32" 33-35" 36-38" 39-41" 42-44"
Fit Advice: The fit of The Evolve top is drapey but tapers towards the hip and tends to fit large. We recommend for you to size down from your normal size if you are unsure. The fabric on The Evolve top has a natural stretch that will stretch to fit within ~1-2" of the measurements shown. 

The Flipside Legging 

Size
0 - 2 (XS) 2 - 4 (S) 6 - 8 (M) 10 - 12 (L) 14 - 16 (XL)
Waist 20-24" 25-28" 28-32" 32-34" 34-37"
Hips 30-34" 35-38" 38-41" 41-44" 44-47"
Inseam 28" 28"
28"
28"
28"

Fit Advice: We recommend sizing up if you are in between sizes with your measurements. The modal fabric on The Flipside Leggings is not as 'taut' as synthetic fabrics like polyester, so if you prefer a snugger fit in the waist area for your leggings, size down. The Flipside Leggings are pre-shrunk. 

 

 The Minimalist Legging + The Minimalist Crop Legging

Size
0 - 2 (XS) 2 - 4 (S) 6 - 8 (M) 10 - 12 (L) 14 - 16 (XL)
Waist 20-24" 25-28" 28-32" 32-34" 34-37"
Hips 30-34" 35-38" 38-41" 41-44" 44-47"
Inseam

28"

(crop 20")

28"

(crop 20")

28"

(crop 20")

28"

(crop 20")

28"

(crop 20")

Fit Advice: We recommend sizing down if you are in between sizes with your measurements. The bamboo fabric on The Minimalist Leggings is tighter than the Flipside Leggings. The Minimalist Leggings are pre-shrunk.

 

The Nomadic V-Neck

Size
0 - 2 (XS) 2 - 4 (S) 6 - 8 (M) 10 - 12 (L) 12 - 14 (XL) 14 - 16 (XXL)
Bust 27.5 - 29.5 " 30.5 - 32.5 " 33.5 - 35.5 " 36.5 - 38.5" 39.5 - 41.5 "
42.5 - 44.5
Waist 23-24" 25-26" 28-29" 30-31" 32-34"
35-37"
Hips 30-32" 33-35" 36-38" 39-41" 42-44"
45-47"
Length 28" 28" 28" 28" 28"
28"

Fit Advice: The Nomadic V-Neck fits true to size. If you want a more relaxed fit, size up. The length can be hemmed by a tailor. As the fabric has a natural stretch, it will stretch to fit within ~1-2" of the measurements shown around the chest and hips. 

 

The Retrograde Kimono Dress

Size
XS (0-2) S (2-4) M (6-8) L (10-12) XL (14-16) 
Bust (Inches)
28 - 32.5"
33" - 35.5"
36 - 38.5"
39 - 41.5"
42 - 49"
Hip (Inches)
33" - 36"
37" - 39"
40" - 42"
43" - 45"
46" - 50"
Length (Inches)
At longest, 33"
At longest, 34"
At longest, 35"
At longest, 36"
At longest, 37"

Fit Advice: The Retrograde Kimono Dress is our most "oversized" piece in the collection. We suggest to order true to your normal size to get the intended look. If you prefer a slimmer or tighter look, we suggest choosing a size down than your usual Encircled size.

 

The Reversible Pencil Skirt

Size
XS (0-2)
S (2-4)
M (6-8)
L (10-12)
XL (14-16)

Waist (inches)

23" - 26"
26" - 29"
29" - 32"
32" - 34"
35" - 37"

Hip (inches)

32" - 34"
35" - 38"
38" - 41"
41" - 44"
45" - 47"

Length Total (inches)

20"
21"
22"
23"
24"

Fit Advice: The Reversible Pencil Skirt fits true to size, but it's suggested to size up if you fall between sizes. The pencil skirt offers a smooth silhouette that slightly tapers from waist to hips and down through to the hem, hitting just at knee length. A pencil skirt should smoothly skim your curves, so to get a perfect fit, first identify your largest measurement then choose the size offering that range while still allowing for some stretch. The fabric on The Reversible Pencil skirt has a natural stretch, that will stretch to fit within ~1-2" of the measurements shown. 

 

The Revolve Dress II + The Sleeveless Revolve Dress

Size
0 - 2 (XS) 4-6 (S) 8-10 (M) 12-14 (L) 16-18 (XL) 20 (XXL)
Bust (in inches)  30.5-32.5" 33.5-35.5" 36.5-38.5" 39.5-41.5" 42.5-44" 45-47"
Waist (in inches)  25-26" 28-29" 30-31" 32-34" 35-37" 38-40"
Hips (in inches)  33-36" 37-39" 40-42" 43-45" 46-48" 49-52"
Length (in inches) At longest, 34.5" adjustable At longest, 35.35" adjustable At longest, 36" adjustable  At longest, 36.75" adjustable At longest, 37.5" adjustable At longest, 38.25" adjustable

Fit Advice: The Revolve Dress is designed to fit drapey that tapers towards the hip. We recommend staying with your typical dress size. If your hip measurements are above the guide, size up. The length can be hemmed by a tailor. The fabric on The Revolve Dress has a natural stretch, that will stretch to fit within ~1-2" of the measurements shown.

 

The Wanderer Sleeveless T 

Size
0 - 2 (XS) 2 - 4 (S) 6 - 8 (M) 10 - 12 (L) 12 - 14 (XL) 14 - 16 (XXL)
Bust 27.5 - 29.5 " 30.5 - 32.5 " 33.5 - 35.5 " 36.5 - 38.5" 39.5 - 41.5 "
42.5 - 44.5"
Waist 23-24" 25-26" 28-29" 30-31" 32-34"
35-37"
Hips 30-32" 33-35" 36-38" 39-41" 42-44"
45-47"
Length 28" 28" 28" 28" 28"
28"

Fit Advice: The Wanderer Sleeveless T fits true to size. If you want a more relaxed fit, size up. The length can be hemmed by a tailor. As the fabric has a natural stretch, it will stretch to fit within ~1-2" of the measurements shown around the chest and hips. 

 

The Reversibe Bandeau Bra  

Size
(XS/S) (M/L)
Bust 30 - 33" 34 - 37"

Fit Advice: The Reversible Bandeau Bra fits true to size and the wide elastic band provides light to medium support. To ensure proper fit, measure your bust and check our size guide.