Calling All Sustainable Shoppers!

Canada’s Luxury Giant Holt Renfrew Is Making It Easy.

Sustainable Fashion has been making headlines lately and WF is keen to delve further into this important series. Like you, our fashion choices can sometimes reflect who we are or what we are feeling. Admittedly, while we, along with a slew of retailers and designers are just starting to dip our toes into this new territory, the same can’t be said for Canada’s largest luxury retailer, Holt Renfrew. A passion project shepherded by Alexandra Weston, the luxe store embraced a progressive and positive concept early on, when it launched H Project back in 2013.

WF had an opportunity to chat with Laura Shaddick, Director of Brand and Creative Strategy for Holt Renfrew, who says H Project “was founded to ensure that HR has a permanent, dedicated department and shop within all stores and online for sustainable and socially responsible products.” Shaddick is dispelling the myth that sustainable doesn’t mean you can’t be stylish at a reasonable price.

WF: Do you see a future where most of the products that HR carries are considered sustainable?

LS: It was a big step for us to expand H Project’s ethos store-wide with H Project Approved. We have set some rigorous targets to create a future where the products we sell at HR are considered responsible.

  • All of our denim assortments will come from certified/verified sustainable sources by end of 2025.
  • We are exiting all animal fur and exotic skins by December 31, 2021, in partnership with the Humane Society International/Canada.
  • We no longer sell any plastic glitter in our beauty products.
  • As we move forward, the most environmentally impactful materials sold across the business will come from a certified/verified sustainable source by end of 2025–with a focus on cotton, leather, down and feathers, plastic packaging.


WF: What would you say to consumers who suggest that fast fashion companies like Zara and H&M allow them to participate in trends that otherwise wouldn’t be available to them because of cost?

LS: There’s no doubt that fast fashion has changed the way people shop. What people have to keep in mind is that the price of those products often doesn’t reflect the resources used or labour of the market. When we don’t shoulder those costs as the customer, someone else along the way does. H Project prices are set ensuring the maker receives fair pay, or that there was less harm done through the life cycle of the product. We have an accessible and wide range of price points in H Project.

WF: Has the pandemic slowed the sustainability trend because of increased online shopping or has it given customers pause for thought when making purchases?

LS: Thankfully more than ever, consumers are paying a lot of attention to brands’ purpose and contribution to society. The pandemic has been a time of reflection for a lot of people and businesses. We refreshed our brand mission to align with this and to be able to move forward as a brand in a meaningful and authentic way.

WF: Is there a certain type of customer drawn to these products?

LS: For H Project in particular, our customer is varied, from those that are sustainably minded and seeking out these products, to those just learning and wanting to add sustainable products in their closets. This customer is ageless, it is more of a mindset. Since H Project began, we have seen steady growth and an increase of awareness both from within the industry and from our customers.

WF has handpicked a few of our favorite (seriously reasonably priced) H Project items that we’d love to receive and we know we’d feel good about giving away. SHOP NOW.