Plum

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With the current trend towards throw away clothing being offered by the 'fast fashion' industry it has become apparent that customers should be questioning where and how their clothing is made.  Plum is also concerned because we have seen this trend growing every year for the past fifteen years.  It is wasteful and the business model seems to be inclined to abuse desperate workers unseen in countries far away from Canada.  

Plum has chosen three jean brands that we think offer the best and most sustainable options for our customers as well as being the most comfortable and fashionable styles available.

Yoga Jeans are made in Quebec where employees get the benefit of fair labour standards, health coverage and disability and retirement benefits.  We love this product because it is definitely NOT a throw away item and as a cost per wear option it is much cheaper than any Fast Fashion alternative.  Plus they are amazingly comfortable.  Customers are thrilled with this product.

MAVI jeans are made in Turkey which is an associate member of the European Union. The company adheres to explicit and strict environmental standards.  Mavi is improving its technology every year and cleans all water used in processing and dying.  MAVI is a member of the Fair Labour Association (FLA) which inspects working conditions frequently and keeps the workplace to a very high health and safety standard in Turkey.

dish is a Canadian company with a factory in Pakistan.  This denim option is for the truly active individual who wants a 'performance' textile with exceptional style.  

Read the words of company founder Gary Lenett from an article by Amanda Ross in the September issue of Vancouver Magazine.

“If you see a beautiful Egyptian cotton shirt and it’s $19.99, you have to ask yourself, how do they do that?” says Gary Lenett, founder of local athleisure brand Dish and Duer. It’s just one Vancouver label fighting against the disposable nature, material excess and human costs associated with “fast fashion”—a trend that he says will see 67 pounds of clothing per person end up in landfills this year.
“The truth is, you get what you pay for, and someone is losing along the way to give you that shirt for that price,” Lenett says. And while Dish and Duer manufactures overseas in Pakistan, its 24 factory workers are paid a living wage, rather than by the piece, ensuring both quality of life for the employees and a quality product for the end consumer. For Lenett, a thoughtful process is paramount, no matter where something is crafted.
 
Owners of Plum
Katie O'Brien and Ed Des Roches
 
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A Thousand "Made in Canada" Survey Responses!

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Last month we surveyed our customers about Canadian made apparel and below is what we received from over a thousand entries.  It is important to Plum to know this because more than half of our clothing is sewn locally in Canada and it is very difficult for us to accomplish.
 
It seems important to our customers that they are able to purchase clothing made close to home.  
 
Here are a few of the summarized results:
 
 

Which statement best describes how you feel about Canadian produced clothing?

Answer

Percent

I honestly never check to see where my clothing is made.

5.87%

I seldom find Canadian made clothing, so I never think about it.  

28.56%

I often look for Canadian made clothing to purchase.

65.58%

 

 

Which statement best describes how you think about the value of Canadian made?

Answer

Percent

I want to buy Canadian made clothing because I think it is better quality.

27.43%

I want to buy Canadian made clothing if the price is the same as foreign made.

12.03%

I want to purchase Canadian made clothing because I know that what I pay stays in Canada.  

60.54%

 
 
 
 
What does “Made in Canada” clothing mean to you? 

Answer

Percent

The clothing is sewn in Canada.

54.01%

The entire garment is made in Canada; fabric is made in Canada, notions are made in Canada, and sewing is done in Canada.  

45.99%

 
Note: There are very few fabric mills left in Canada and practically no buttons, zippers or other notions manufactured in Canada making it next to impossible to have a garment completely made here.  However, designing, pattern making, grading, cutting and sewing can all be done locally.  It is our opinion that “Made in Canada” should mean “sewn in Canada” since the alternative would be nearly impossible. 
 
Thank you to everyone who participated in our survey! Congratulations to our draw winner, Ana!
 
 
 
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Kate and I, and all of the Plum staff, want to take a moment to thank our customers for their business during the previous year and to wish you the best of the season.

We know you have more choices than ever of where to shop for your clothing so we sincerely appreciate that you have chosen our company.  It makes us proud that we can produce exclusively designed good quality garments right here in Canada at an affordable price.  So we are pleased that you have taken that into consideration when you purchase from us in your neighbourhood and on line.  Creating work right here at home benefits all of us.

We also want to publically thank all of our in-store employees who have helped you look your best.  They are committed to making you feel great about what you wear and are knowledgeable about what works for you as an individual.  Plum has received hundred of emails this year about the positive experiences you have had in our stores so we know you appreciate their dedication.

Thanks for your business and we sincerely wish you a healthy, happy and prosperous New Year!

Katie O'Brien and Ed des Roches

Owners of Plum

 

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I love the fashion business but it has changed a great deal since as a young girl I first dreamed of having my own store.  One of the saddest events for me occurred on April 24th of 2013 when the Rana Plaza collapsed killing and injuring thousands of innocent garment workers in Bangladesh.

It took months for leaders in the “fast-fashion” world to help those that were struck by tragedy that day, and some companies have done nothing.

At the same time there are many companies doing a great deal to improve conditions for their workers in these countries but the result is higher costs for their garments. 

I know fashion is important to us.  It adds to our self esteem, our creativity and our image in society.  But it should not be at the expense of people in other parts of the world just so we can have it at the lowest possible price.

As consumers and small retailers, we cannot fix all the unsafe buildings, underpaid workers and child labour abuses, but we can take responsibility for what we purchase.  If we purchase clothing that is so inexpensive that we have no guilt about throwing it away after a few wears, it was likely made at the expense of workers in countries such as Bangladesh.

Today, when we remember the 1133 workers that died, let us also remember that we have some alternatives.

  1. Shop with intelligence. Purchase what fits you and will last for more than one season.  Try to resist a purchase simply because it is such a great price.  You may find you spend less if you buy for quality.
  2. Be conscious of where your clothing is made. Not everything made abroad is made to be the cheapest price.  Look for quality made clothing.  If you don't know how to determine this, ask the sales associate.
  3. Vote with the power of your wallet because it will directly influence the actions of corporations.

If we care as much about what we put on our bodies as what we put in our bodies we will find alternatives to cheap clothing. There is a great deal of information available on the web if you want to educate yourself. (see below).

Katie O'Brien

Co-owner and buyer at Plum Clothing Ltd.

 

More information on the Rana Plaza Tragedy:

http://www.cbc.ca/fifth/episodes/2013-2014/made-in-bangladesh

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/apr/20/rana-plaza-bangladesh-disaster-anniversary

http://www.businessoffashion.com/tag/rana-plaza

http://www.businessoffashion.com/2014/04/op-ed-rana-plaza-disaster-marks...

Rana Plaza collapse in Dhaka, Bangladesh | Source: Flickr

Rana Plaza collapse in Dhaka, Bangladesh | Source: Flickr
 
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If I need to look polished, quirky, elegant, or even sexy, I have the perfect item in my closet. When paired with my closet staples, I could wear a blouse every day of the week.

Whatever I’m in the mood for, there are plenty of styles to suit. For the office, a fun printed blouse adds a touch of my personality under a jacket. Then for weekend brunch, I can wear that same blouse over my distressed denim and with a bright Kersh cardi.

If I’m feeling casual, I’ll wear a button-up loose over a tank with my boyfriend jeans. But if I’m looking for something more polished, I can wear the same blouse buttoned up to the neck with a high-waisted pencil skirt. There's a blouse to interpret every bit of my style.

 

Plum blouses are exclusively designed by Plum and made in Vancouver.

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The sheer Plum polka dot tunic is the perfect travel companion.

Throw it over your denim then, wear it over your bathing suit as a cover-up.  

Also available in Black and White. $82

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Polish up in this crisp Plum short sleeve button up.

Wear it tucked into some Mavi Keira cropped jeans and accent it with red accessories.

 Also available in Navy. $75

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For a romantic look, this Plum sheer blouse in off white is the perfect top.

Also available in Black and Aqua. $79

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A Plum floral button up worn loose over a pencil skirt is dressy casual for the weekends.

During the week, it looks sharp with your work wear.

 Also available in Brown/Multi. $79

 

See what other blouses we have in stores here on our window shop page.  

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   ... read the full post and reader comments

 
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