Victoria-born sustainable fashion brand ecologyst (formerly Sitka from 2002-2018) is celebrating the grand opening of their new headquarters and manufacturing facility on Store Street.
The new facility consists of integrated retail, factory and warehouse space, and is designed to increase local production, provide transparency on the manufacturing process and facilitate direct connections between consumers and the individuals crafting their clothes.
Within the iconic Powerhouse Building on Store Street, ecologist’s public facing space offers consumers a peek into how their clothing is made. Roughly 20 percent of the company’s clothing is made on the premises — a 1892 heritage building that ecologyst took over during the pandemic. The majority of the rest is produced in partner factories in Vancouver, Quebec and Ontario.
The 4,500 square-foot space was reinterpreted by Colin Harper Architect, with an industrial aesthetic in mind.
“The new headquarters and production facility in Victoria marks an important milestone in ecologyst’s history, and I’m so proud of our team for getting us here,” says Rene Gauthier, Founder and CEO. “From our early days as Sitka in 2002, to our rebrand to ecologyst and the opening of our flagship store in Whistler in 2018, to launching the globally leading ZQ-certified collection in 2020, we have made historic strides in redefining the concepts of consumption and fashion. With the new facility, we can offer even more jobs to local workers while allowing consumers to forge meaningful connections with the people who make their clothing.”
ecologyst’s new direction is showing other retailers what is possible in the industry. The concept — small batch clothing created on-site means designs can be adjusted quickly to reflect customer feedback and additional batches of popular items can be produced. It’s bound to be the future in an industry that is responsible for huge amounts of unwanted and discarded clothing going to landfills. The idea drives the ecologist forward and positions them as a trailblazer.
The showroom opened in mid-July. Showroom hours are 12–4 p.m. on weekends and 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. weekdays.
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