Over the past decade, Katrina Hillyer has forged a path for her brand, Earth Warrior Lifestyle, to become a leader in sustainable business practices in Alberta.
“It’s been 10 years on a journey of textile recycling and practicing making things with all the different textiles and keeping them out of landfills,” she says. “I’ve learned a lot, and it’s been a lot of fun.”
Her desire to create an environmentally conscious clothing line started when she was in fashion school, where she came to understand the volume of fabric going to waste in the fashion industry.
“The waste just from making clothes in school really kind of bothered me, it never really sat right with me,” she says. “It just felt too wasteful.”
Eventually, she left the fashion industry and worked on a farm. That’s where the inspiration for Earth Warrior Lifestyle struck her – she wanted to create a circular fashion line – items that were responsibly produced and helped to keep waste out of the landfills.
Today, Earth Warrior gathers textiles from drop-off locations in Edmonton, Leduc, St Albert and Red Deer, and repurposes them to make a complete line of lifestyle goods, including handkerchiefs, tote bags, make-up wipes and more. Over the past two years, it’s diverted more than 11,000 lbs. of textiles from the landfill. The company also has a corporate upcycling program, working with local businesses to create new items out of what would otherwise have become waste.
And Hillyer is just getting started.
“We’d love to branch out globally with our recycling program,” she says. “But our head office will always be in Edmonton.”