FAIR TRADE: It's Life or Death
I naively associated this term with coffee, but wow! It is so much more.
So, what does fare trade mean exactly? Well, essentially it means that a company in a developed country (the U.S.) agrees to pay a fair wage to workers in an under developed country. The fast fashion industry is notorious for engaging in child labor and paying workers pathetic wages. The New Daily reported that many employees working in fashion factories were being paid less than .39 cents an hour.
THIRTY NINE CENTS.
Can you name one thing that you can buy in the US that costs less than .39? A single gumball. That is it. How can these individuals ever make a better life for themselves? How can these countries ever grow their economy? It’s a vicious cycle, and we as consumers are to blame.
We (me included) need to be better about choosing brands and companies that pride themselves in ethical treatment of their employees, as well as those who choose to engage in sustainable practices. This is the reason I was so excited to work with both Wooden Ships Sweaters and Kallie & Co Shoes, and why I’m taking even more time to share them with you. These small businesses are changing the fast fashion industry, and I’m here for it!
Wooden Ships provides their employees with a living wage, health care, holidays, and all the things we ourselves expect from our employers. Traditionally, men are the only ones who work the knitting machines, but at Wooden Ships they’ve created a program to work at breaking that cultural barrier and train women how to operate this machinery as well. Today 60% of their knitters are women!
Environmentally, they carry no back stock. Sweaters are made to order and this helps eliminate waste and over production of a product. Wooden Ships also has a “zero waste” goal and they’re moving towards it each and every day!.
This is a company worth supporting.
Like Wooden Ships, Kallie & Co. is a brand that makes ethical treatment of others a priority. For them this includes animals, and they pride themselves in making gorgeous vegan shoes that could be dressed up or down. Perfect with jeans or while heading to a work meeting, their shoes do more than just make a fashion statement.
Kallie & Co. was started by Nadia Martinez in the laundry room of her own home back in 2013. As young girl who was born in Mexico, she wanted to bring fare trade practices back to her home country by starting her own business selling hand crafted goods created by Mexican artisans. In addition to providing fair trade jobs, Kallie & Co. also gives back to the Semper Fi Fund, which provides support to our wounded and ill veterans.
There are mixed reviews regarding the environmental impact of vegan fashion, so I encourage you to always do your research and keep an open mind! Find brands that are environmentally conscious and remember to always be mindful of where you shop!
Some other Fare Trade US brands to check out: Patagonia Madewell PrAna Athleta J.Crew