As you’re doing your clothes shopping or research, you may have run into some terms that make you stop and go- wait what IS that? Is that a thing? These terms are fast fashion, and fair trade. Let’s take a moment to define those terms.
Fast Fashion refers to a phenomenon in the fashion industry whereby production processes are expedited in order to get new trends to the market as quickly and cheaply as possible.
Fair Trade refers to trade in which fair prices are paid to producers in developing countries.
These terms are each other’s polar opposites. Unfortunately MOST of the clothes you can get in a mall are going to be the former. Think about it for a second… In order for that shirt you are buying to be $9.99, how much could the person who sewed that shirt possibly have made. Would YOU sew a shirt for less than $10?
Businesses that promise fair trade are paying attention not only to their customers, but to the welfare of their employees. Most of these brands pay fair wages, provide health care, and make sure the artisans have basic human needs like clean drinking water.
Making the decision to support fair trade businesses is quite a commitment, and it can be a bit overwhelming at first so we wanted to help you out by sharing our favorite fair trade clothing and accessory businesses.
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TEN OF OUR FAVORITES
Patagonia’s Mission Statement: Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.
We love Patagonia’s clothes for the active woman. From yoga, to running and hiking, Patagonia has got you covered. As a business they are concerned about the welfare of their artisans, the environment, sustainability of their materials…. If you are looking for a company that does more than sell clothes and make a profit, go no further.
Krochet Kids Mission Statement:
Empower people to rise above poverty.
To create sustainable economic development programs that support holistic growth of individuals and communities living in poverty.
To inspire the knowledge of a generation about their ability to bring change to a world that is in need.
People: We desire holistic freedom for our people to grow and enrich their lives physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
Our Product: We believe in quality, handmade products that not only bring comfort and style but serve as a vehicle for social change.
Krochet kids clothes are fresh, simple and made with love and integrity. Each piece is hand signed by the person who made it, and you can read about them on their #knowwhomadeit page. We love that!
Sapahn’s Mission Statement: We boldly put human rights first changing the way business is done. We bridge the gap by connecting artisans’ high quality crafted collections with customers who want their beautiful things to do beautiful things.
Sapahn’s dedication to human rights is what impresses us. But their products stand up for themselves. They have a nice selection of purses, wallets, jewelry and scarves.
Accompany’s Mission Statement: First and foremost, our mission is to help human beings—to change the lives of individuals, families and communities, for good. Because to us, change doesn’t mean a quick fix or temporary solution. It means a forever altering of the systems and cycles that perpetuate poverty and economic disparity around the world. And we believe that socially-conscious industry holds the key to that permanent change—fortunately, as fun as fashion is, it’s also an industry that’s perfectly positioned to make a powerhouse impact.
Accompany brings us handmade and fashionable finds through fair trade practices and also supports philanthropic causes. Accompany has a huge selection of apparel, footwear, accessories, home and even gift goods!
BEAD & REEL
Bead & Reel’s Mission Statement:Bead & Reel is the one-stop shop for activist fashion.
Founded in 2014 based on the belief that fashion and ethics aren’t mutually exclusive, we offer over 60 independent designers and 15 different searchable ethics focused on eco-friendly, cruelty-free, sweatshop-free styles for conscientious women. Everything we sell meets the criteria of being thoughtful to animals, people, and the world through our carefully curated selection of hand-picked designers and products including:
Made in America
Bead & Reel lets you shop according to your own ethics. Choose fair trade, vegan, organic and from many others. They sell apparel, shoes, jewelry and accessories.
MadeFAIR’s Mission Statement: Fair labor, sustainability and transparency. Music to my ears!
MadeFair is dedicated to running ethically. They only work with companies and suppliers who either use fair trade practices, or recycle garments that would otherwise end up in a landfill. You’ll find clothing, foot wear, jewelry and accessories in their online shop.
From Everlane: Know your factories. Know your costs. Always ask why.
Everlane is very hands on. From sourcing their materials, to asking the hard questions, Everlane is dedicated to making it easy to know where your clothes are coming from and how much they actually cost to make. And on each product page you can See the Factory that the piece was made at and read a little bit about it. This is about as transparent as it gets!
From Naja: Naja is a product of our passions and beliefs:
a love for beautifully designed things, a bit of rebelliousness,
and a deep desire to make the world a better place.
Naja aims to employ single mothers or heads of households to make sure children and families are supported (they even make sure to supply those children with books, school supplies and school meals!). They also use new technologies to leave a smaller environmental footprint. Naja specializes in oh so pretty under things.
If you’re anything like me you enjoy a good sweater or 10. Slumlove is committed to producing environmentally friendly, handmade in Kenya sweaters. All employees are paid fair wages and are provided resources to better their lives and provide for their families. Plus they donate part of their proceeds to an organization that provides scholarships to children living in slum areas.
Code of Ethics: From creations to our designs arriving at your doorstep, Encircled strives to function ethically through every aspect of production.
Encircled makes all of it’s products and operates from Toronto, Canada. They shop locally, support local businesses, use sustainably grown materials and environmentally friendly dyes. They pay attention to what counts, including designing their garments with intention and purpose.
IF YOU WANT TO LEARN MORE
If you want to learn more about the importance of fair trade and the economic effects of fast fashion, check out these resources.
Patagonia Fair Trade Video
The True Cost (available on Netflix!)
WE CAN MAKE THE DIFFERENCE
Buying fair trade will cost more and take a bit more work on our part, that is true. The higher costs can be an eye opener. But the low costs of fast fashion stores is equally eye opening. If more of us choose to shop ethically, educate ourselves and each other, and demand more from the fashion industry, we CAN inflict the changes necessary to ensure that every person working in the industry is treated humanely and compensated fairly.
We CAN be the difference we want to see in the world.
If you have any favorite fair trade businesses, please share in the comments below!