"What's a fashion tip that never goes out of style?" April 10 2012, 1 Comment


So, here I sit at my desk on a rainy Sunday afternoon updating one of our business profiles.  I came to a section that asked “What’s a fashion tip that never goes out of style?”  As a dedicated Fair Trader, this question started my mind rolling and I realized that there is not enough room in the little box to express my thoughts, so hey, I’ll start my blog for the Healdsburg Patch today!  

Most large companies are under great pressure to get their products produced at a minimal cost.  This often leads to companies hiring workers outside the U.S. to produce these products for very little or sometimes no pay.  Often this includes children working long hours under unsafe conditions and this is not fashionable at any price.

Fair Trade products are not produced this way.  Fair Trade is a unique business model that was developed more than forty years ago to create a sustainable economy for disadvantaged communities or areas that don't have access to a marketplace.  Fair Trade offers consumers a sustainable alternative to sweat shop produced items.  The people that produce Fair Trade products work for groups that are committed to safe and healthy work conditions and promise to pay a living wage. 

When you purchase a Fair Trade item the cooperative will set aside a portion of the price to go back into the community where the items were made for the building of health clinics, schools, starting scholarship funds, building housing, providing leadership training and women's programs.  This can shift a community from a position of vulnerability to one of economic self-sufficiency without charity.

There are now numerous Fair Trade organizations throughout the world whose trading partnership puts consumers in touch with the manufactures and the supply chain is transparent and often certified by a third-party.  As the Fair Trade movement grows, so does the product design. 

Fair Trade maintains many indigenous techniques and crafts that preserve rich cultural heritage and have timeless fashion.  Many Fair Trade groups employ and consult with fantastic designers from places like Los Angeles, New York and Europe to maintain fashion forward designs to keep products fresh.  We now see many Fair Trade products in trendy fashion magazines and catalogs.  Fair Trade can be spotted on many celebrities and models.  Fair Trade is even appearing in Hollywood as Julia Roberts recently popularized a Fair Trade Hobo Bag in the feature film, "Eat, Pray, Love."

The Fair Trade movement is also growing in our wonderful little town of Healdsburg.  Many local retailers now carry one to several different Fair Trade items

So keep an eye out for Fair Trade as it is a wonderful model for global economy, deeply rooted in dignity, justice and sustainability and that is a fashion tip that will never go out of style!