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Clothing

Know Your Maker - Fashion Revolution Week

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Know Your Maker - Fashion Revolution Week

We probably make hundreds of purchases every year. And, if you’re like me, a lot of those purchases are clothes. Often, I find myself drawn into a new collection, an upcoming promotion, or even just a cute scarf in the “perfect” color.

Even with so many options, I still find myself carefully deciding which of all the colors to choose. What fabric will work best for spring? Is it on sale? Can I buy both? Do I have an outfit this will go with? I ask myself all these questions so that I can make the very best decision with my money. But isn’t it strange that not one of my typical questions is “where did this scarf come from?”

Oddly enough, the answer to that question may be harder to find than we think. Many clothing brands do not have a traceable origin, so we actually may never know where our cute scarf comes from. Many clothing brands have moved their production phase oversees, but in doing so, they have not kept a firm track on where the products are actually being made.

Another question we should be asking about our clothes is who is making them. Unfortunately, the clothing industry is one of the largest industries using child or slave labor. After learning this, my cute scarf suddenly became much less cute. Yep, as much as we want to think that our name brand clothes are made honestly, this is not always the case.

While we can’t always be sure that our brand-named clothing companies are making the best production decisions, we can be certain of our decision when we choose to buy fairly traded, ethically made clothing. Plus, buying fairly traded clothes is easier today than I imagined. Here are just a few emerging and established clothing brands that are dedicated to provided ethically and sustainably made products.

For even more great ethical and sustainable brands, check out the full list here!

Just like many of these great brands, Elevāt is helping empower women all across the globe by fairly trading their handmade products. Elevāt is dedicated to cutting out the middleman and working directly with artisans to sell their work. We value relationships with our partners, which is why it is extra special when we can provide a picture and short story about the women who make the products we sell.

Elevāt’s Ecuadorian Tagua necklaces and Kenyan bracelets both come with a name and photo of the woman who made the piece. And with our Haitian Paper Bead bracelets, we get to learn more personally how our purchase impacts the women who make them – each bracelet comes with a story and photo.

This week is Fashion Revolution week – a week to remember the 2013 tragedy in Bangladesh when the Rana Plaza collapsed and killed over 1,000 factory workers. This tragedy sparked the discussion about knowing where exactly our clothes come from. Many people began to question the ethics of massive clothing factories in their treatment and compensation of workers. Fashion Revolution week is an opportunity for clothing brands and businesses to promote their supply-chain transparency and their commitment to make their clothes ethically and responsibly.

When we purchase ethically made, sustainable, and fairly traded clothing we can be confident that our money is not going to a multimillion-dollar brand that underpays its production-line workers. Instead we can know that the individual who made our new scarf is treated fairly and receives fair wages. We may even receive information about them with our purchase. This is what is so neat about buying fairly traded products! With each purchase we make, we deepen connections and trust throughout the world while proudly supporting talented and deserving artisans. I urge us all to, at the very least, think twice before we make our next clothing purchase and to consider where our money is going. We all make hundreds of decisions every year. Let’s be committed to make our next worthwhile.

 

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What Exactly is Fair Trade?

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What Exactly is Fair Trade?

For many of us, we have heard the phrase “fair trade” tossed around here and there at various craft shows, local ministries, non-profits, and even in nation-wide corporations. We all feel much better when we know what we are buying is fair trade. We feel a sense of social responsibility to buy all products marked “fair trade.”

But wait. Do we even know what “fair trade” means? Do we really know why we should feel good after purchasing a fair trade product?

By definition, fair trade is when a fair price is paid for a product and the money paid is given directly back to the product’s producer in a developing country. Not only that, but most fair trade partnerships also help promote clean and sustainable environment practices as well as produce higher quality products than most factory-produced items.

Too often, buying and selling is based simply on pushing products and driving profits. Typically, when I stand in the grocery isle or shop for clothing online, I’m not always thinking about the long chain of individuals my cereal or pair of pants went through to make it available for purchase. If I did, I would realize that many workers at the beginning of the chain are not getting their fair share of profits. The individuals who make the products often receive unfair compensation for their work.

This is why fair trade is so important to helping stabilize and support developing countries.

The World Fair Trade Organization lists 10 Principles of Fair Trade that help us better understand how it is positively impacting the world. Just a few of these important principles:

  1. Opportunities for disadvantaged workers
  2. Transparency and accountability
  3. No discrimination, gender equity, and freedom of association
  4. Good working conditions
  5. No child labor or forced labor

You can check out the full list of fair trade principles and learn more about what you can do to help here: http://wfto.com/fair-trade/10-principles-fair-trade

When we buy fair trade products, we are not only helping small-scale workers around the globe, but we are also empowering them to use their talents and skills to make a livelihood. While charity and donations are helpful to third-world workers, it is even better if we can help support them in their occupation, which in turn promotes long-term relief.

All of Elevāt’s products are fairly traded. We can rest assured that when we purchase a product, our money goes directly back to the woman who made it - helping to support her family and livelihood.

Fair trade partnerships make it possible to truly make a positive difference in the world and enjoy quality, beautiful products while doing so!

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