If you haven’t heard of Aritzia yet (unlikely), you will soon. The Canadian company has seen a steady increase in growth over the past decade, and it seems that its modern, logo-free, affordable lines are becoming even more relevant. So if you haven’t heard of it, it’s only a matter of time.
Founded in 1984 by Brian Hill, Aritzia lists an ever-expanding group of complementary brands under its umbrella – all with a similar level of quality and price points (ranging from $50-$500 depending on the item). What might be a factor in driving its growth is the fact that, not only is it consistent in its offerings, its offerings tend to be timeless, value-added pieces to your wardrobe. Couple that with designer denim and a few cool outerwear and accessories brands (aka Mackage leather jackets, Adidas sneakers and Auxiliary bags), and the store has most of your needs covered.
That means they keep their millennial customer (myself), often driven by status-related purchases or experiences, happy. It also invites the interest of the younger Gen-Z consumer who so far appears to be looking to eschew items with obvious logos. Given the ever-changing habits of consumers today, that’s a pretty solid foot to stand on; a point even investors have noticed.
Fast Fashion or Sustainable?
As to the question of their sustainability, there are mixed reviews. Some sites have them on “top affordable, sustainable brands” lists, while others grade them at a “C” in that department at best. However, the retailer’s website and available reports do discuss corporate responsibility with respect to their carbon footprint, supply chain and communities. They have a ‘Denim Forum’ committed to choosing sustainable materials, they’re involved with a variety of charities, and there is also a focus on human rights within the supply chain. All in all, Aritzia may not necessarily be leading the ethical charge, but they don’t appear to be greenwashing either.
At some point I plan to interview a member of their team to obtain more insight into the matter, but for this article I wanted to go ahead and review some of the pieces I’d already picked up for the fall/winter season. Because, until proven otherwise it seems to be that for the quality, price point and great fit of the clothes, Aritzia fits a good middle ground in terms of affordable sustainability.
Probably my favourite aspect of Aritzia is that they will – nine times out of ten – have a colour choice I love. For instance, I don’t love bright colours (generally speaking), I love neutrals. For this shoot, I decided to keep it with only black and beige pieces to give you a feel for the classic sense of their overarching brand image (or at least, how I see it). Of course they do offer some more trending pieces and colours, but they didn’t make it into this editorial.
When it comes to sizing, in my experience I tend to size down. But that said, it also depends on how you like to wear your clothes. I like either fitted or typically non-oversized things. You also have to double check with the brand because it seems that TNA items fit more true-to-size but Wilfred and Babaton (probably my favourites) are generally a bit bigger – at least more than I’d prefer. In this shoot, my turtleneck is from the Wilfred line (but it was from last winter, so here is this year’s version) and my jacket is the Babaton Quincy Jacket in Modern Taupe, both in a size XS.
In terms of wearability, most of my items have gone through hell and back (aka really bad apartment building dryers) and they’ve survived with hardly even a pull or pill, if any. The only issue I’ve ever had is when I bought a heavy, knitted sweater dress that was super comfortable, and it shrank in the washing machine. On cold. Moral of the story: know your fabrics and how to wash them properly!
The backpack, by one of their exclusive brands, Auxiliary, is one of the best purchases I’ve ever made. It literally goes with everything (I know, surprising for a backpack right), it’s minimal and sharp looking and I am in love with it. I actually just spotted a new, waist belt by the leather-goods brand recently that might just make my Christmas list…if I don’t order it for myself first.
With all that said, I’m a big fan of the brand. It might not be everyone’s cup of tea, and maybe it could be even more sustainable. But, for now, I will continue to shop there. Comments/questions? Let me know in the comments section below!