When it comes to dressing for Canada’s notoriously frigid winters, we are met with the same predicament season after season: Should we opt for function or style? That was the question for designer Sasha Jardine, who ended up splurging on a long black puffer coat to protect herself against Toronto’s biting windchill. But it wasn’t long before she felt like something was missing. “It dawned on me that everybody was wearing some version of that coat,” she says. “It didn’t feel special, and, even worse, I understood that this coat was essentially made of fossil fuels.” Jardine, who has a background in education and biochemistry research, realized that there was an opportunity to fill a void in the outerwear market.

After a year of research and development, Jardine launched SteMargScot (an abbreviation of “Saint Margaret of Scotland”) in early 2023 with a line of environmentally conscious coats that pack plenty of personality—and warmth. With a gender-inclusive fit and nods to heritage styles, the coats are meant to be heirlooms for generations to come. Each component—from the raw-edge seams to the hand-carved maple toggles—is made without plastic or metal and is thoughtfully crafted. To help combat the winter blues, the coats are dyed in an array of vivid rainbow hues, including a poppy chartreuse, a royal purple and a bright fuchsia. And the brand has already received a nod from the industry: It was nominated for The Award for Emerging Talent, Fashion at this year’s Canadian Arts & Fashion Awards.

But the real star is the wool, which is custom-woven at a family-owned British mill that’s been in operation since the 1800s. The thick, dense shell is naturally wind- and water-resistant, and a removable wool-filled liner ensures ultimate insulation, even in -20 ̊C weather. In the future, Jardine hopes to source wool closer to home; she’s a member of the Canadian Wool Council’s policy committee, which is working to revive the industry here.


“There’s this idea that if you dress colourfully, you’re associated with things that are juvenile or you’re not serious. We want to encourage people to play and give themselves permission to wear the colours they love—especially in those dark times when we need positivity and any kind of little dopamine hit we can get. We try to maintain a joyful aesthetic while still being luxury.”


“When you think about fashion and materials, you rarely think about agriculture. Our clothes used to be grown. Fabrics like linen and hemp are made of sunshine and water. Our clothes were bio- degradable, so when we were finished with them, those nutrients could be returned to the earth. That was truly and simply circular. I would love to see that revisited by bringing back materials that are far from fossil-fuel-derived fabrics like polyester and nylon and that are also circular in their disposal process.”


“Nowadays, when a lot of people think about a winter coat, they forget that wool kept us warm and dry for centuries before synthetics were invented—and it can continue to keep us warm. It’s something that’s been forgotten because we only envision a winter coat in a certain way now. Customers are inundated with synthetic coats—they have closets full of them. We want to give them the option of something different. Our focus on craftsman- ship lets the wearer know that their coat is unique—there aren’t thousands of them elsewhere in the world.”