THE HOW + WHY OF CANADIAN FABRIC PRODUCTION.
Fabric is complicated. There is so much to know about it and we are learning more every single day. Before we get into the nitty gritty, let us give you a little history that will bring you right up to speed with our fabric journey.
We spent the first four years of our business using imported fabrics from Canadian suppliers. These fabrics were beautiful and high quality but we knew that there was more we could do to ensure our finished pieces were as Canadian as possible. It was also becoming increasingly important to us that our fabrics were unique to Blondie and that our fans were getting something truly unique.
In 2018, we began working with two Mills in Toronto and our excitement for this new adventure very quickly turned into one of the biggest learning curves of our careers (but that’s a whole other Blog post!). We talked about this briefly as guests on Amy Eaton's Podcast called Bold Company. You can listen to it HERE.
Early in 2019 we shifted all of our fabric production over to one Mill, and have been working with them productively ever since. This relationship is critical and needs constant attention and nurturing.
This leads us to today and working with our Mill to produce almost 25,000 meters of custom fabric each year. It also leads us to the bigger questions of how and why we have made this a priority in our business.
Believe us when we tell you we knew absolutely nothing about fabric production when we started down the path to creating our own textiles. In fact, we are pretty sure that some of the grey hairs on our heads can be blamed on learning this process. We made it to the other side though and are confident in our knowledge and things are getting more and more streamlined.
Let’s talk a bit about how involved we are in the process and what that looks like. When we are launching a season, we are also planning for the next season. There is no such thing as too early, too prepared or too organized when it comes to this stage of our production.
We sit down and choose fabric contents based on style that we want to do as well as pieces we loved in the past. It’s important for us to hit the mark on quality, texture, sustainability, durability, feel and drape. Once we have done that, we can move onto the next stage which is choosing our colours.
We have been really lucky over the years that you guys have all loved the colours that we have chosen. Phew! When we sit down to do this, we are looking at thousands of colours in pantone books. We usually have our supporters like Black, White + Grey and then we want to pick around two leaders which are the colours for the collection. We go with our guts on this and surprisingly we usually agree quite quickly on what they will be!
It would make our lives a million times easier if we were still using imported fabric. Trust us, we have been tempted many many times by the allure of simply ordering finished fabric and skipping all the extra steps. However, it would be unfair to ask that you support Canadian if we don’t do the same. Not to mention the positive impact that working with a mill here in Canada has on the economy right here at home. Think of it this way, we order from the mill in Toronto, those employees have work to do which they get paid fair wages for. Those employees then put that money back into the Canadian economy by going about their day to day activities. In contrast, if we bought imported fabric, that money is never touching the economy here at home.
Now, another benefit of working with a local mill is that our carbon footprint is significantly smaller. In our case, our mill is a short 15 minute drive to our manufacturing partners. Had we bought imported fabric, we would be enlisting a shipping company that would transport the fabric across the country. That’s gross and we haven’t even touched the pollution caused by the tanker that would have brought the fabric to Canada in the first place.
It’s for these reasons that we are extremely proud to say that our products are 100% Canadian and we will never go back.