First Pick profiles Novel Supply

Our Men’s spotlight week continues, and what guy doesn’t love a good tee? But in a world of t-shirts, some stand to a higher level of standard. Some are made in sweatshops overseas, while some are made right here in Vancouver. Some t-shirts are made with conventional (ie chemically fertilized) cotton, and others are made with organic cotton and hemp. Some are screen printed in huge quantities, and some are printed direct to garment, and in smaller runs, ensuring fewer garments end up in the sale bin and at the thrift store due to over production…

When we started booking First Pick, we initially thought, “no t-shirts” (since there are so many screen printed tees at the more “crafty” shows, and we have only 30 vendor spots in total at our event) but Kaya Dorey’s Novel Supply changed our mind, because she does it so right, from start to finish, and beyond, by closing the production loop. We are excited to have Kaya and Novel Supply at the show, because we truly believe that small manufacturers will be the ones leading the way of the future, just as we believe shows like ours will change how people shop. We also like the fact that Kaya’s line is ungendered: you like it, you buy it, you wear it.

We were fortunate to interview Kaya about Novel Supply Company, and we are really looking forward to seeing her and talking sustainability more at our Spring Market.

Check it out!

How is your line “green” or eco-friendly? Ethical?

NOVEL SUPPLY CO. apparel is handmade ethically right here in Vancouver. It’s designed with the end in mind and made with hemp and organic cotton. We don’t use any toxic dyes and all marketing materials and shipping supplies are recycled, recyclable and/or biodegradable. We’re on a mission to become zero waste and have partnered with a local non-profit called Abel Wear to turn our scrap fabric into kids apparel. Abel Wear trains women with barriers to employment how to sew so they can start their own businesses. Finally, we are in the process of developing a take back program that will keep our products out of the landfill.

You recently were awarded a prize by the United Nations, can you tell us about that?

I am a recent recipient of the 2017 Young Champion of the Earth prize by the United Nations Environment Programme and Covestro. I applied with the idea of developing a take back program and making my clothing line closed-loop. In other words, taking responsibility for the products I make and finding a solution for the textile waste. 

NOVEL SUPPLY CO. is a conscious apparel company that cares about this place we call home and wants to leave it in better shape than we found it for future generations to come.

What inspires your line?

Apparel is inspired by the West Coast lifestyle: weekend adventures to cozy cabins, exploring the local mountains, bike crawls, craft anything, seawall strolls, street art and hunting for the best cup of joe in the city.

I collaborate with local artists to design the prints and do limited edition runs of each design.

What challenges do you face manufacturing in Canada/Vancouver? 

Vancouver is facing an interesting challenge ahead. The demand for local manufacturing is increasing but there is a lack of skilled seamstresses in the city and people being trained in the field. If we don’t start to think of alternatives, we’re going to face a major challenge when the current people sewing our clothes retire. I think that the future is in technology and we need to start thinking of ways to keep our manufacturing industry alive in Vancouver.

Anything else you would like to say about the current state of fashion?

Fashion is one of the most polluting and wasteful industries in the world. It’s supply chains are complex and far reaching. After learning about all of the textiles waste that ends up in our landfills and micro-plastics from synthetic fabrics that shed from our clothes and enter our water systems and food chain, I decided I had to do something about it. I challenge other designers to use more sustainable fabrics, non-toxic dyes, and ethical manufacturing. I challenge consumers to educate themselves and make more conscious choices when they shop. Finally, I challenge the big brands to lead this movement as they are the ones that can make the biggest impact globally.

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