Fair trade is far from the first thing that people think of when the word fashion is mentioned.
And as much as one would want to point an accusing finger at someone and say “how can you not care?!” it is a fact that not many individuals understand, and are aware about fair trade garments, and the impact it has on rural communities around the world.
So what is Fair Trade, what’s it about, and more importantly, why should you care?
To answer that question, let’s start with the basics of what is Fair Trade, shall we?
Fairtrade X Fair Trade
Some of you might think that “Fairtrade vs Fair Trade” are the same and is nothing more but spelling error….no, there’s more to it than that.
Fairtrade – The word refers to a brand or product that has been certified by Fairtrade International, and organization that certifies is a product meets certain standards when it comes to the protection of workers’ rights, supporting local producers from underdeveloped countries, promotion of sustainability and preservation of the environment.
Fair Trade – Refers to a product or brand that was independently certified to adhere with the protection of workers’ rights, supports local producers from underdeveloped countries, promotes sustainability and preservation of the environment.
Now that were done with the introduction, let’s now talk about the other factors that makes up “Fair Trade”.
Within fair trade practices, a minimum price is agreed upon ensuring that producers are able to earn a competitive wage. The importance of this practice stems from the idea the products are usually sourced from poorer regions to feed the demand of more progressive ones.
By adhering to this practice, producers are protected from price fluctuations. Meaning that regardless of what the market price of a specific product is, the producer of said product won’t be short-changed.
Some groups even have long term contracts with the purpose of ensuring financial stability for their producers. Some even go as far as to invest in educational or healthcare facilities within their producer’s community.
Fair Trade practices demands that workers must be in a safe and healthy working environment.
This means no long work hours without adequate compensation, the right for workers to organise and unionise, and most especially, absolutely no use of slave or child labor.
Protecting the environment is one of the key components of Fair Trade. It stems from the rationale that without Fair Trade agreements in place, companies can just swoop into developing countries, and invest in production and farming with little to no regard to the environment.
When it comes to environmental protection, typical Fair Trade practices includes, proper waste disposal, preserving biodiversity, ban on the use of modified organisms, restrictions on the use hazardous chemicals and water conservation.
How Does This Impact You?
Most don’t really bother to ask how their clothes were created.
Yeah, some might look at the tag to find out where it was made, but to find out how it came to be, is as rare as an eclipse.
Now if we look at the points stated earlier, you would see how complicated things are. And if you try to imagine all the work people went through so that you can wear a hoodie, it kinda makes you think, yeah?
- How does this impact you that the shoes you wear were possibly made using child labor?
- How does this impact you that the jeans you just bought could have possibly been the result of companies levelling a section of the rain forest?
- How does this impact you…..that you have been supporting the abuse of workers from less developed countries for years?
It’s a difficult pill to swallow yeah?
Well, take comfort in the fact that we were in that same situation as you are now before. Years ago, before Hoodify was created, we didn’t really care about all this Fair Trade talk. But months before Hoodify officially came to existence; we were introduced to the dark side of retail.
We were told how some companies take advantage of their workforce. How they cut cost at the expense of communities that relied on them. And how some have complete disregard for the environment.
This is how it impacted us. It changed our perception about the industry we’re in, and how to do business. And this is why all our garments are ethically sourced and FairTrade compliant.
So next time you buy a piece of clothing, ask them if their garment are Fair Trade. If not, ask them why not.