Inside the modern studio of sustainable fashion brand Ecologyst

In our Workspace series, BC presents interesting, intelligently designed and unique spaces across Canada. From innovative home offices to ready-to-use coworking spaces to unconventional setups like this beauty business run on a rural farm, we seek to showcase the most unique and beautiful spaces in all industries. . This month we feature a sustainable clothing company, Ecologyst.

The company, based in Victoria, British Columbia, opened its new headquarters in July 2021 after moving from a smaller space on the island. Located in a late 19th century heritage building that was once a power plant, the facility serves several purposes: It is a combined showroom, factory and warehouse. This means that customers can browse and buy the items they see being made on sewing machines right in front of them. The building also houses a media studio where Ecologyst Films, the brand’s independent nature film production company, works, as well as office space for Ecologyst employees, including its product team, marketing and retail and its CEO, Rene Gauthier.

Founded by Gauthier in 2002 as a surf brand, Ecologyst has grown into an eco-friendly outdoor clothing company. The company, which changed its name Sitka at Ecologyst in 2019, brought all of its manufacturing back to North America from overseas factories in 2014 to better align with the company’s green ethos. Now, all clothing is made in Canada or the United States from more sustainable materials.

The inspiration behind the 4,500 square foot space, designed by Colin Harper Architect, had to develop local production, ensure transparency on the manufacturing process and facilitate relations between buyers and artisans making Ecologyst clothing.

Here is a glimpse of the interior, photographed by James Jones.

Before buyers enter the showroom, they can read about Ecologyst’s history and company philosophy, an element inspired by the galleries’ exhibits.
The foyer of the building leads to the warehouse and factory space where the purchasable showroom also lives. Customers do not need to make an appointment to visit, they can simply walk in.
The multipurpose facility is housed in an 1892 heritage building, which Ecologyst took over during the pandemic. The floor is used as an office.
The minimalist space has high ceilings and whitewashed brickwork, evoking a modern industrial aesthetic.
Above the samples on the floor are storage boxes where the extra product is kept.
To encourage sustainable consumption, Ecologyst offers a lifetime warranty on its products. Items are repaired on site.
Buyers can try out the designs they like from the floor.
The clothes are made from natural and biodegradable materials, such as organic cotton and merino wool.
To support local jobs and sustainable manufacturing practices, garments are made on site in the Victoria workspace or in other factories across Canada and the United States.
Visitors can meet the seamstresses making the clothes on the sewing machines (left) and see the designs come to life.
A pattern and a sample of the brand’s new quilted jacket. The design has been prototyped, tested, adjusted and finished at the factory.

Think your workspace deserves a spotlight? Please send a short text describing your setup and some photos to editor@canadianbusiness.com with the subject line “Workspace of the Month” for review.

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