Gore Bay business joins Fashion Revolution Week 2021 movement

Who made my clothes? Young Knox Chatwell is shown in photo wearing clothes made by My Ol’ Blues in Gore Bay. The Gore Bay based business took part in the Fashion Revolution Week 2021 global event held April 19-24.

GORE BAY – My Ol’ Blues has joined Fashion Revolution Week 2021, a global event held April 19-24 to bring awareness and encourage transparency, sustainability, ethical practices throughout the apparel and accessories industries. 

The Fashion Revolution Organization was formed from the rubble of the Bangladesh factory tragedy which occurred April 24, 2013. Its vision reads, “a global fashion industry that conserves and restores the environment and values people over growth and profit.”

Through public awareness, education, activism and collaborations with designers, producers, retailers and consumers, its members are working diligently to see their vision come true. 

“Change is needed in this industry and by questioning, evaluating, and demanding transparency #whomademyclothes, #whomademyfabric, #whomademyaccessories, we can all participate in bringing change to this industry for the betterment of our planet, economy, community and its citizens,” said Kathy Antonio, owner of My Ol’ Blues.

“My Ol’ Blues was built on an open-door policy,” said Ms. Antonio. She explained, “I put in place standards to guide our business from its inception. My Ol’ Blues designs and produces quality made apparel and accessories with a team of local employees. The raw goods required for production are sourced locally to internationally working with companies with similar values and vision. My Ol’ Blues is a community focused company that values and supports the health and welfare of all those in its inner and outer circles.”

“My business initially started by recycling cast-off garments and fabrics back in 1998,” said Ms. Antonio. “I created funky fun hats, giving new life and a longer lifespan to those goods. As demand for the product grew, so did the sourcing of raw goods. I sought out companies that were producing fabric within our country and if they were importers I wanted to know who made the fabric and the processes involved. I made a commitment from the get-go to remain in Northern Ontario and give opportunity to locals to work in a field that is not familiar to this part of our province.” 

She feels, “the workplace is a reflection of how I always expected to be treated when I was an employee. Respect, honesty, integrity, trust and accountability are values I set out to build this business upon. My employees are encouraged to participate in all aspects, whether it be design, technique ideas, production process, new fabric to introduce, marketing and events to host.”

Ms. Antonio continued, “every year, My Ol’ Blues evaluates its position in relation to its core values. As the economic and social landscape has changed, so have we adapted and reinvented ourselves—always striving to keep our footprint small and our heart big. This year, 2021 and the Fashion Revolution Week couldn’t have come at a better time. We are currently in lockdown again because of this global COVID pandemic. Our emotional and mental states are frayed. People are increasingly shopping online from companies all around the world and it is now as we head to the checkout cart to stop and ask ourselves, ‘who made my product, who made my clothes, who made my accessories and who made my fabric?’”

“It is up to us first, as individuals, to ask these questions and consider the health of our planet and the welfare of the people who inhabit it. Secondly, as a business it has always been my responsibility to listen and take action, to provide a safe working environment, give back to the community and those that cross our path,” said Ms. Antonio. 

Ms. Antonio added, “Fashion Revolution Week 2021 has given all of us at My Ol’ Blues an opportunity to have some fun while allowing people to get to know us as a company and highlight how important our values, customers, community and environment are to us.”