In 1850, Great Britain produced almost all of the world’s finished cotton. Now, of course, it makes almost none.
In 1850, our nation wasn’t even, well, much of a nation. So how much finished cotton does Canada produce today?
That’s one of the questions I’ll be exploring in this month’s new category, Clothing. Last month’s Household Goods were a good introduction, but now we’re getting serious. The game is definitely afoot.
What am I hoping to learn about Canadian clothing? Let’s see:
- Where do our clothes come from?
- Do we actually manufacture any fabrics or other source materials in Canada?
- Can I buy a suit made from Canadian-made fabric?
- Are there Canadian-made running shoes?
- Is it even possible to create a wardrobe of clothes that are entirely sourced in Canada (without, you know, knitting and sewing them myself)?
- Why has the rest of the world adopted the term ‘toque’?
What in my wardrobe is already Canadian? For years, I’ve been a frequent Stanfield’s customer, underwear made with pride in Truro, Nova Scotia. I also usually get my dress shoes from John Fluevog (certified Satan-resistant, it says so on the sole). Neither products are sourced in Canada, but they’re a small start.
I’d like to start from zero clothes in my closet, but that’s not practical. Not only would it be exorbitantly expensive to build an entirely gold-standard Canadian wardrobe, but I suspect that it’s virtually impossible. I also need to remain gainfully employed, and my work requires that I occasionally dress up. I can’t very well wear only Stanfield’s underwear and a Cowichan sweater to a speaking gig, can I?
So, I’m only going to add Canadian-made clothes to my wardrobe for the balance of 2011. As per my Made in Canada rules, I’m going to work as hard as I can to create entire outfits that comprise clothes sourced, manufactured and designed in Canada. Pray to your cold, Canadian gods for me.
I’m going to have to cancel two of my favourite clothes-by-mail services: the Threadless t-shirt a month club and Man Packs, for t-shirts, socks and underwear.
Have you got any recommendations for clothes that are made in Canada?