Bottled water empties bring a new meaning to ‘fashion statement’

Northern Ontario’s ethical clothing brand Ungalli recognized at annual Nature Inspiration Awards

Most of us don’t consider where our clothing comes from, or under what conditions it was made.

We almost certainly don’t think about how much water is being used to make each item.

The answer? About 2,720 litres—for one T-shirt.

Ungalli Clothing was born in 2013 in Thunder Bay, Ontario, with sustainability and conservation top-of-mind by sisters Hailey and Bree Hollinsworth. Hailey and Bree have made quick and long strides in such a competitive industry at ages 23 and 25, respectively.

Just one T-shirt manufactured by Ungalli can save 141 days of drinking water and more than three kilometres’ worth of driving emissions due to its proximity close to home.

The brand ethically manufactures its clothing in Canada using equal parts recycled cotton and plastic bottles, proving life in plastic really can be fantastic.

“People may think the impact they make by buying a sustainable T-shirt isn’t really that big, but it’s part of a much larger movement,” says Hailey. “It’s standing up for people, for the planet, and for change.”

The Hollinsworth sisters were recently named recipients of the Canadian Museum of Nature’s 2017 Nature Inspiration Awards in the Business (Small and Medium) category for their brand that has gained local, national and international acclaim.

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In addition to the ethical clothing dynamos, other winners of the 2017 Nature Inspiration Awards, announced on Wednesday, Nov. 8, were as follows:

  • Teenager Stella Bowles from LaHave, Nova Scotia, who doggedly pursued changes to clean up the flow of sewage into her local river;
  • Ottawa adventurer and author Max Finkelstein, known as Canada’s “canoe man”;
  • Nature Canada, for their innovative awareness campaign to keep birds safe by keeping cats indoors;
  • The Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto for its moving exhibition about blue whales and ocean conservation;
  • Coca-Cola Canada for its commitment to water recycling and preservation of water habitats; and
  • Dr. Louis Fortier of Quebec City, presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award for two decades of leadership in coordinating Arctic research programs that integrate different fields of study.

Each winner receives a $5,000 grant to designate to the organization of their choice.

The Nature Inspiration Awards have recognized individuals, groups and organizations that connect Canadians with the natural world since 2014. Enbridge supported the 2017 awards as a presenting sponsor alongside media sponsors The Walrus and The Globe and Mail.

Enbridge’s Chief Sustainability Office Linda Coady says the awards are an important way Enbridge promotes environmental stewardship, conservation and environmental education.

“We are pleased to support the 2017 Nature Inspiration Awards, which recognize the diverse activities and projects that Canadians are undertaking to promote environmental innovation and stability,” says Coady.