The sustainable clothing movement has never been more prominent. With documentaries such as The True Cost making their rounds on Netflix, the public is becoming more and more educated on where their clothing is coming from. At the same time, books such as Marie Kondo’s The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up and films such as Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things are inspiring us to live with less.
Morgan Hamel, the fashion ethicist behind The Garment, is helping Calgary women find ethical fashion and maintain a curated wardrobe. She offers workshops seasonally, hosts pop-up events and updates her Instagram regularly with wardrobe advice.
What is The Garment? What led you to this career?
“The Garment is a community of women, makers and influencers. We are all about connecting women and responsible brands, and my mission is to change the future of fashion by doing just that.
To be honest, it feels like everything I’ve done in my life so far has led up to this work. I’ve always been interested in both ethics – I have my master’s in it and spend part of my time working in the ethics office of a large corporation – and style. My great grandfather was a shoemaker, and my dad instilled in me an appreciation for that which is well made. These things have influenced where I am now.”
Tell us a bit about your capsule wardrobe workshops.
“The workshop is a two-part series that introduces participants to the concept of the capsule wardrobe, which is all about having fewer, better things. In the first session, guests create their style statement, get clear on the function of their clothes by making a life map, and choose a colour scheme through the creation of their own mood board. Then, they go home with detailed instructions to pare down their wardrobe. Two weeks later, they come back together for the second session, during which we debrief the paring process, and discuss the creation of new shopping habits. The workshop concludes with a slow shopping experience.”
Why is it so important to you that you connect with ethical brands?
“There are so many incredible companies out there who are making good quality, stylish, responsibly made clothes that are more functional and beautiful than people would believe. The challenge is that many people don’t know where to find them. That’s where I come in. As an ethicist and capsule wardrober, I am able to connect women and responsible brands, and feel grateful to be able to do it.”
What are your top-three tips for someone thinking about moving to a more minimalist wardrobe?
“First, be intentional. Pay attention to what you really need and make a detailed shopping list of those items. Don’t buy something if it’s not on your list. Second, be discerning. Learn about quality and garment construction as well as about what fabrics and shapes work for your body and your life. Make your purchases based on those things. Lastly, be curious about the creation stories behind your clothes. Seek out clothing you can be proud of.”
What is The Garment Virtual Pop-Up Shop series?
“People tell me that once they’ve been introduced to responsible/good quality brands, the two biggest barriers to making a purchase are cost and fit. Through The Garment Virtual Pop-Up Shop series, we remove these barriers by providing people with a discount code as well as detailed notes on size and fit. Brands featured in the cold-weather collection were Jamie and the Jones, Pyne and Smith Clothiers, Camp Brand Goods and Buttercream Clothing.
I am now in the process of curating a collection of capsule essentials for the warmer months. While we haven’t yet confirmed the pieces, some of the brands I’m looking at are Brass Clothing, Elizabeth Suzann, Free Label, FRANC, Two Fold Clothing, Avarcas and Bryr Clogs.”