Fair trade is a philosophy all about respect between human beings. Fair trade brands ensure that they pay their suppliers a fair price and that their employees are also paid a fair and living wage and provided with job security, development and training. Millions of garment industry workers from cotton farmers to seamstresses are not paid fairly in order to keep costs down and product prices as low as the fast fashion system demands.
There are so many reasons to choose fair fashion, not least the clothes themselves. The ethical fashionista’s wardrobe is built on fairness and equality - here’s why:
1. Beautiful Brands
You don’t have to compromise on style to shop fairly! We’ve discovered beautiful brands that pride themselves on paying their workers a living wage. We recently discovered Conditions Apply who create colorful pieces in their own factory in Delhi, India. With a family approach, the brand offers its employees a living wage, personal loans and flexible working hours and have a strong emphasis on female empowerment. Happy workers, happy clothes. Favorites from the collection include their versatile Little Birds Dress, achingly cool Print Trousers and White Maxi Dress which is the summer dress of our dreams.
2. Label Love
The ethical fashionista loves a label. And no we aren’t talking about the big designer names - the ethical fashionista it is all about certification labels! It might not sound so glamorous but a Fair Trade stamp certified by the Fairtrade Labelling Organization provides peace of mind and reassurance that your clothing has been produced fairly. And that’s more valuable than any brash label a designer brand might splash all over their wares. Kowtow, (a perennial favorite of the Ethical Fashionista) only uses Fair Trade Certified cotton in all of their pieces which are made in a living wage factory in India. For clean lines and a cool modern style check out their versatile Lost at Sea T Shirt or gorgeous Make Believe Dress.
3. Fair For All
Fairness in fashion means fairness for all, including the buyer. Transparency and authenticity in a brand allows the customer to make informed decisions. It also means the brand charges a fair price to the end consumer - the preconception that ethical fashion must be overly expensive is simply not the case any more. A great example of a brand that offers value to all involved is Komodo. Komodo sources the best available eco fabrics and their pieces are carefully tailored using traditional skills in clean and fair factories. The collection is full of easy-to-wear everyday pieces - we love the super soft and ever-so-useful Lule Shirt and their chic ochre Thea Sweater.
4. A Personal Touch
It is the human aspect of fair fashion that makes this such an important philosophy. Connecting our beautiful garments with the people that make them is one of the joys of shopping ethically. Demanding respect and fair treatment of the talented craftsmen and women who produce our clothes is the least that we can do. Independent ethical brands like the brilliant Osei Duro have small supply chains that mean they are able to build relationships with their workforce and understand their daily lives and the importance of fair employment. The brand works with artisans specializing in Batik in Ghana, Africa to produce stunning printed silks and cottons. The Toss Kimono dress is one of our pieces of the season and their silk Linter Dress mixes a classic, elegant silhouette with avant garde batik pattern to delightful results.
5. It’s Not Just Clothes
The jewelry we wear says a lot about us - precious trinkets we choose to adorn ourselves, each piece telling its own story, so fairly made jewelry is a no brainer. Edge of Ember designs cool girl jewelry that is fairly produced. The brand work with workshops and organizations in Nepal, Bali and Cambodia. All of the artisans that work with these organizations are paid far above the minimum wage and respected for the skills they can offer. Edge of Ember's Nepalese workshop spend time training young men and women, empowering them to work independently, whilst also supporting them with outsourced work. Their most recent collection includes a stunning gold Lariat Necklace crying out to be teamed with a plunging neckline and eye-catching green malachite and silver rings and necklaces. With pieces like this a little retail therapy seems hard to resist - in fact I’d say it’s only fair.