1. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your brand. Is it just you behind everything? How long have you been in business and where are you located?
I’m Kristi, the founder and CEO of Encircled. I lead a passionate team of 10 employees based out of our Toronto studio.
Encircled makes versatile, sustainable and ethical clothing designed to help women do more with less in their wardrobes. We design intentionally, and see ourselves as the opposite of fast fashion. We want every new piece to be special, functional and add value to our customers’ closet.
All of our clothing is made locally in Toronto from sustainable fabrics. We’ve been at this for just over 5 years now, about half of which was just me, running the business part-time while working. You can find us online at www.encircled.ca or on Instagram @encircled_.
2. Of all the products you sell, what’s your personal favorite?
My favourite Encircled design is our Dressy Sweatpants. They’re a pair of ultra-soft, chic harem-inspired ‘sweat’ pants that you can dress up or down. We knit the fabric (MicroModal) in Toronto, and they’re sewn here too. I wear them at home, on dog walks, and can dress them up for speaking gigs, and important meetings.
3. Name a brand you love, other than your own. Why do you love it?
ABLE. I love their style, ethos, and their commitment to their values in ethical fashion. They’re transparent (which is great) but they’re also openly committed to evaluating themselves, and improving their practices.
Unlike some ‘ethical’ brands who say they’re ethical, but don’t really articulate why, ABLE is truly opening the curtains to how they run their business and pay their workers. For me, there is not perfect ethical business, but as long as they’re progressing towards a goal of being better every day, that’s what matters.
4. Tell us something that most people don’t know about the fashion industry.
It’s still very archaic! We have many suppliers that use fax machines, landlines, and handwrite packing slips and invoices. Though tech has infused the consumer facing distribution channels of this industry, behind the scenes it’s still a very hands-on, old school industry.
5. How do you see the future for ethical and sustainable fashion?
I see it as table stakes for all brands, very soon. Consumers are smart, and asking more from their brands. There’s a segment of consumers who no longer regard it as ‘cool’ to exploit people and the planet to make something cheap. And this segment is growing every day.
6. Have you personally achieved your perfect wardrobe? If not, what do you need to improve on?
No, definitely not. I like, many of our customers is on the journey to a better wardrobe. Progress over perfection! One area of my closet that needs evaluating are my shoes. I’ve always found it challenging to find ethically-made shoes. Now, there are so many options online emerging, so it’s just a matter of finding my perfect fit.
7. Any particular future plans for the brand, that you could reveal for us?
We’re working on something interactive to help women build their ideal capsule wardrobe with both their Encircled designs, and clothing they already own.