TLDR: Local Vendor Showcase: Ethically Made, Sustainable Fabrics, Stylish, Comfortable, Ladies clothing that is reasonable priced? Turns out it can be done. Physical stores in BC only; online shopping for the rest of us. https://blueskyclothingco.com/
Last September, in one of the in-between times when cases were low and we were optimistic that the end was in site, the Hub and I headed to Victoria for the weekend for our anniversary. On our first day, we walked over the Johnson Street Bridge from the spectacular Delta/Marriott on Songees Point and wandered around the tourist district. We found ourselves at one point at the east end of Government Street not far from Chinatown. This short block seemed a bit empty – but there was one little boutique with a sidewalk sign and a rack of sale items outside.
I am an absolute clothes maniac. I am not discriminatory between high end fashion, thrift store chic, and dirt cheap big box wares. And I especially like to mix them all together. The only problem is size. I am a plus size diva in a world with limited options. Expanding those options is always an exciting discovery.
My first thought – the sidewalk sign indicated that the wares within were ethical, sustainable bamboo – cool, but nothing in my size. Then I saw on the window “sizes XXS to 5XL”. But of course, with all the sustainability stuff, would be tremendously expensive. Not necessarily a deal breaker, but more likely to be one with Hub in tow. Unless I can somehow signal with my eyes to the cashier not to say the total out loud, there’s likely to be some coughing, jaw dropping and possibly even a bit of side-eye.
I took the chance – the little t-shirt dress on the sale rack was not in my size but I figured worth having a look. Not only did I find the same pattern in a style I liked better, at 50% off it was a mere 39.50. That’s right – most of their pieces are under $100. Dresses, tunics, and pants run around $79 regular price; Tees, tanks and most other items under $49.
I bought two dresses that day; the next day we covered the same ground with a friend and she, too, is a big fan of Blue Sky – so we went back and I added a few more items.
The have a few men’s items – mostly their underwear (ladies too) – the most comfortable thing ever to cover this big white backside. Since then I’ve gone back to the well a few more times on their online platform. Shipping is free with orders over $149 and they have frequent sales. In the 6 months or so since that first visit I’ve added 4 pairs of pants, several more pairs of undies, 3 tunics, and 3 more dresses. Unfortunately with working at home for the post part I haven’t had many opportunities to wear them all – but just you wait. I’m going to be the best dressed person in the grocery line up just as soon as dress weather is upon us.
I did a bit of research and the company was founded by a Marilyn Cobbin, a resident of Balfour BC, which I had to google despite having driven nearly every major highway in BC. (It’s in the Kootenays). Her sustainable bamboo, linen, cotton, and wool fabrics are sustainable, and although clothing is manufactured overseas, they are fair trade facilities. The company is headquartered in North Vancouver, with locations in Lonsdale, Kits, and Commercial Drive in Vancouver; other BC locations include Kamloops, Kelowna, Nelson, and of course, Victoria. Their online store is easy to deal with, if there are any issues with fulfilling an order they email, and my orders from Calgary arrived in about a week.
I firmly believe if you can’t find one thing that appeals to you, you’re not looking hard enough. For the most part, she has a stable of designs that she repeats with different fabric designs each season. If you find a style you like, chances are, you can get it in multiple colours that get updated frequently. The same applies to fabric designs, with multiple items available in the same pattern. So now I have 2 tunic tops with matching underwear and even if you can’t see them, wearing them at the same time makes me feel a little like I have my sh*t together. Just a little.
Most items aren’t dryer proof – which is the norm for natural fabrics. I have had no issues with machine washing on delicate and hanging to dry. The clothing is very well made, with double stitching on seams and buttons well sewn on. My red tunic top has multiple pleats that have held their stitching and shape through several wearings and washings. There is a tremendous amount of attention to detail and quality in each item.
They now have an outlet store in Lonsdale and I cannot wait for everyone to be vaccinated so I can clean it out. In the meantime, I have a pretty good start.
Find them at https://blueskyclothingco.com/
Youtube: Blue Sky Clothing Co