Local clothing brand focuses on being ethically sourced

By Hayley Ferguson
May 31, 2019 - 5:33pm Updated: May 31, 2019 - 7:18pm

 

Medicine Hat, AB- At first, the name V Ninety Three was just a nickname to represent Kyler Miles, Blake Sweet, Jonah Larmor, and their two other high school best friends.

The V the roman numeral for five and all of them born in 1993.

After one summer reunion together, it was decided that they wanted to take the name and turn it into something special.

That something special was a Canadian made ethically sourced clothing line.

“We were on the beach one day, kind of looked around at our beautiful friendship and said ‘we can make all this positivity into something and we can make a huge change’. We wanted to use our drive for that as a catalyst to really make a very large increase in the awareness and demand for ethically and fair traded clothing.” Explained Sweet, the COO of the company.

Larmor, who is the CEO, says the biggest problem with non-fair trade clothing are the human rights they violate.

“We decided to start a clothing line because we all love fashion but we realized there was a big problem in the industry with regards to sweatshops and by us sourcing ethically, fair traded clothing. It’s going to help us change lives one shirt at a time by not having people work in sweatshops.”

In North America, 85 per cent of clothing sold is not ethically traded, meaning people across the world can be paid as little as 40 cents an hour to make clothing.

“We want fair wages for people all around the world. In southeast Asia, in India, in Africa, who are really going through it and almost to the point of being slaves. So our big goal is changing that mindset, changing the industry it’s self.” said Miles who has taken the role of director.

The three co-founders acknowledged it has been a struggle to make sure that all materials are from North America and are in fact 100 per cent ethically sourced.

“Actually trying to find an ethically and fair traded manufacturer and supply it is tough. I see why not a lot of people do it.” Admitted Miles. “A lot of people want to go over seas because they pay two dollars for a shirt and sell it for 20 or 30 dollars. Which is a huge mark up. So this business is not attractive to a lot of people but we focus on what we want to do. We focus on the people, the planet, and then the profit.”

After a year of working on finding the right suppliers though, V Ninety Three is set to launch on June 11th.

Although the shirts are cut and sewn in Toronto, all of the designs are drawn and printed onto the shirts here in Medicine Hat.

After V Ninety Three launches on June 11th to their online store, Miles says they are hopeful that people will become more aware of ethically sourced clothing and start demanding it across the industry.

“That’s a pretty aggressive goal but that’s what we want to do and that’s kind of why we’re here.”

Follow V Ninety Three on their Instagram at @vninetythree

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