How to Shop Ethically in Waterloo Region

Home to more than half a million people and located in the heart of Southwestern Ontario, Waterloo Region is one of Canada’s fastest growing communities.

Its blend of urban cities and scenic rural areas include one of a kind boutiques and great vintage finds!

Here is some of what we’ve found:

Uptown Woods

56 King Street North Waterloo, Ontario, N2J 2X1

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Located in the heart of Waterloo, Uptown Woods embraces the power and style of what it means to be Canadian. They thrive on supporting Canadian brands and designers to provide their customers with high quality fashion unique to our home and native land. Their brands include: Encima, Gentle Fawn, Kollar, Keepwood eyewear, Polar Piece, Klaxon Howl, Red Canoe, Rudsak, Lole”, Cara Cheung, Sokoloff Lingerie, M.A (Melissa Araujo), 18 waits, Matt and Nat, Halfwits, Kuwalla/tee, and Brimz. Many of these brands offer environmentally friendly and sustainably produced items.

Uptown Woods offer both men and women’s clothing from tops, to bottoms, to outerwear, and accessories. While I found the prices expensive on some of the items, there was a huge diversity on prices. Their prices are diverse, with items every from from very affordable to the upper scales. With such a diverse range there is something for everyone.


Luster and Oak

2 King St. South, Unit 5 Waterloo, Ontario, N2J 1N8

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Luster & Oak is a vintage and consignment boutique set in the heart of Uptown Waterloo. Originally established in 2006 as Unit 5, they took our first steps into fashion retail as a high-end street-wear shop. In 2010, Unit 5 took a bold leap and reinvented itself to engage a growing eco-conscious consumer market. As part of this reinvention, they decided to re-brand the store and have now come to be known as Luster & Oak.

Luster & Oak provide an eco- and cost-friendly alternative to shopping for frugal consumers. It’s a clothing store built by students, for students. Their consignment services give students and families the opportunity to re-sell their pre-loved clothes for a fair price. While they only have a limited selection of items available for sale online, you can explore the entire selection in-store.

The best part of a consignment shop like Luster & Oak is that when you go in, you can bring in your old clothes for them to sell.  Once they sell,  you get paid for them. Consignment not only helps you get your money back for old clothes, but it also provides students and frugal consumers with a cost-friendly alternative to shopping within the Waterloo region. The clothes do need to be in good condition with no rips and they must be in season. After all, if you bring in a winter coat in the summer, it’s not going to sell.

There are also certain brands they won’t take, such as Bluenotes, American eagle, Aeropostale, Abercrombie and Fitch, Hollister Co., Old Navy, and Sirens ( SWS and Streetwear Society). Bringing in any other brands, however, is a great motivation for cleaning out your closet!


Harmony by Earthwinds

72 St. Ledger Street Kitchener, Ontario, N2H6R4


Harmony by Earthwinds is a family-owned, fair trade philosophy company dedicated to eco-friendly living. Due to the fragile state of our planet, they have decided to reduce their carbon footprint as well as change the way they operate.

Moreover, they believe that the best way to educate is to lead by example. As such, physical changes have been made within their stores to begin producing items locally, and they now offer even more sustainable products.  They have installed LED lighting, reduced packaging, and started using recycled materials for in-store displays. 

Harmony by Earthwinds also provides custom t-shirts through Harmony Custom Tees,  located in the Jackson Square Mall in Hamilton, Ontario. They offer direct to garment (DTG) printing with no set up fees or minimums. This means you get a quality graphic tee that will last much longer than traditional forms of apparel printing at a very reasonable price. This is because in DTG printing, the ink is water-based which reduces chemical use and waste significantly.

They offer sustainable garments made from bamboo and organic cotton and work with suppliers who have been chosen to ensure that their t-shirts are fair and eco-friendly. Although they have a catalog of images to choose from, you’re encouraged to be creative! Bring in your own designs on a USB or submit files by email to create a custom shirt. They also support local artists, making them another great addition to Waterloo Region.


More Than Half

8 King Street East, Kitchener, Ontario, N2G 2K6

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More Than Half is a fair trade clothing retailer and proud fair trade federation member located in downtown Kitchener. Their website and blog are full of info and you will also be delighted by their vibrant selection of fair trade items. Each selection reflects their desire to showcase clothing that is beautiful, well made, and affordable.

More Than Half carry a wide variety of items and sometimes offer special sales. A big plus is the fact that they have so many options in terms of both items and sizes. Their clothes are also reasonably priced and very stylish! If you live in Waterloo region it is definitely worth heading into downtown Kitchener to browse for yourself!


Meow Boutique

78 King Street North, Waterloo, Ontario, N2J 2X4


New, pre-loved, and vintage: clothing, accessories, jewellery, shoes, and gifts. Meow Boutique offers vintage and off the hook funky retro styles. Great for quirky gifts, amazing jewelry and treasures. The prices are reasonable, but aren’t so easily accessable since their on-line presese is most via Facebook. However, fi your looking for retro clothing this is the place to be. Located towards the border of Waterloo, this is definitely a place to stop in for some interesting finds.


Patina Vintage

46 King Street North, Waterloo, Ontario (Located in the Princess Twin Cinema)


Patina Vintage is a small independent shop, so the tall order is filling it with good quality vintage items and well-crafted current pieces that may invariably become tomorrow’s classics.

Their ever-changing inventory of consigned merchandise keeps up with today’s trends, while offering unique charm and affordability. Patina offer closet clear out services for those downsizing or transitioning an estate. They also love to pay top dollar for your vintage.

Items for consideration must be in MINT condition and preferably from the 1960’s and before. Please keep in mind that not all vintage will be desirable, and they are looking for unique and beautiful pieces to fill their store. Patina Vintage accepts vintage clothing, jewellery, furnishings, and home accessories. Clothing items may consist of shirts, pants, suits, blouses, sweaters, dresses, ties, outerwear, accessories, purses, jeweller,y etc. The list is long!

This is another great consignment shop and another great way to make money while getting rid of those items you no longer need or want.


Twice is Nice and Twice the Man

The Atrium – 33 Erb Street West, Waterloo, Ontario, N2L 1S8


Twice is nice and twice the man isn’t a thrift shop. They sell fine quality, up-to-the minute pre-owned women’s, men’s, and maternity fashions that are in style and in pristine condition.

Their prices are diverse but very affordable and they advertise that most prices are 60-90% off regular retail pricing. They are also a consignment shop that takes your clothing to sell for you, accepting brand named clothing along with purses, shoes and even jewellery for women and men.

From jeans to dresses and business fashion to high fashion, they have it there.


Plato’s Closet

700 Strasburg Road Kitchener, ON N2E 2M2


Plato’s Closet buys & sells quality used clothing for teens & twentysomethings. This is another consignment shop worth looking at.

The store is fairly big and has tons of clothing to search through, but keep in mind it is admittedly mostly geared towards teens and young adults. They offer a variety of sizes and their brand name clothes are very reasonable priced. 

Plato’s Closet offer everything clothing wise for girls and boys including running shoes and dress shoes. And, even though geared toward younger generations, you’ll often see adults shopping for items still very fashionable items for those over 30.

Just like any consignment shop they go by season, so if you’re trying to get rid of some items from you or your children bring them in at the right times. It is fully worth going!

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