You have heard it time and time again.
"Don't buy clothes from big brands! It is bad for the environment/economy! It is all made in sweatshops!"
But there are plenty of different clothing companies that promote ecological and ethical manufacturing as part of their brand. There are many clothing brands that are also local.
So, what do we mean when we encourage shopping locally over a brand? How is one better than the other? Is there even a difference between branded clothes and local clothes?
Discover our collection of silk fashion accessories.
What is Branding (with Examples)
You may notice that sometimes people talk about different clothing brands as if they are people. They have a persona. A set of characteristics that make the brand what it is.
One brand might define itself as selling sports clothing, while different brand identifies itself as a creator of luxury fashion.
One response you might hear to what is the difference between branded clothes and local or non-branded clothes is that branded clothes are of higher quality while local or non-branded clothes are cheaper.
While that may be the case nine times out of ten, it's a little oversimplified. Sure, a core part to a brand could be to create the highest quality of clothing it can.
Branded clothing can be of a higher quality than non-branded clothing
But a different brand may identify itself as a manufacturer of cheap clothes. Behind every brand is a philosophy of what and why they create.
A brand tells you what you can expect from them. They make you a promise.
Let's take Nathon Kong as an example. Core to our brand is the creation of high quality, luxury fashion accessories.
Nathon Kong also adds art to their clothing. But what really makes Nathon Kong different from other brands is twofold.
Firstly, the art woven with each clothing article is entirely unique, created by different local artists recovering from mental health difficulties. In addition to being beautiful and artistic, each accessory has a history that tells a story of recovery.
Geometric Artwork by Bill Market
Secondly, the Nathon Kong brand gives back to the community and supports mental health by donating 10% percent of proceeds to different local nonprofit organizations like Les Impatients.
Artwork created by Les Impatients
Nathon Kong promises luxury fashion accessories with artworks that tell a story and gives back to the local community. All of these things create the Nathon Kong brand. Without all of those characteristics, a clothing accessory wouldn't be Nathon Kong.
What are the Benefits to Shopping Locally?
When you buy locally made clothes in a country like Canada, you will know that the clothing is made ethically by workers who were paid fairly. This can make local clothing more expensive, but it can also be cheaper since there are little to no shipping costs.
Locally made clothing is another part of the Nathon Kong brand. Through our Angel network, we hire local seamstress who set their own hours and work from home to create silk face masks and scarves.
Is there a Difference Between Branded and Local Clothes?
If there is, that puts Nathon Kong in a weird spot, doesn't it? We are undoubtedly a clothing brand, but we are also local to Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
As you can see, branded clothing and local clothing are different terms independent of each other. Clothing can be both branded and local or neither.
Buying local clothing tends to be better for your economy, but isn't better or worst environmentally. Whether you buy branded or local makes little difference. The act of consumption damages the environment. That isn't something that can be changed with a buying decision, but we can buy better.
It is largely the pursuit of trends in the clothing industry that is really damaging to the environment. Buying and throwing away new clothes every couple of months when different trends end is no good.
One of the reasons Nathon Kong brand makes high quality clothing with art isn't to be trendy. We want to create something that is meaningful and not disposable. We want to create something timeless, that you want to wear over and over again.
Discover our collection of silk fashion accessories. 10% of proceeds are donated to nonprofit organizations supporting mental health.