Fashion It Fair
A blog designed to bring style inspiration to the fashion savvy. We promise to feature only clothing and accessories that are fair trade, ethically made, recycled, or thrifted.
“All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my Angel Mother” -Abraham Lincoln
One of the most inspiring things in the world of Fair Trade is the empowerment that I see in all aspects of the mission. Starting with the artisans themselves, the empowerment that comes with the opportunity to provide for their families in their own right, and make decisions that will change their children’s lives and better their futures. There is also empowerment in being part of a Fair Trade retail store, the responsibility of educating consumers and sharing the stories and methods behind the products is one I take seriously. As a consumer there is so much power behind choosing where and what your dollar is supporting, the ripple effect of one purchase is so far reaching, choosing to buy ethically on a regular basis is life changing for many. Nothing is more inspiring to me than the stories of the mother’s involved. In honor of Mother’s Day I wanted to share a story that changed my life personally and is one of the reasons I have felt so fortunate to be part of One World Fair Trade and continue to be after 10 plus years. I was lucky enough to travel to Central America and visit some of our artisan partners in Guatemala and El Salvador several years ago. One particular Mother’s story touched my heart and changed my life.
Concepcion is pictured here with her 3 children outside of their home. When I got to meet them and hear her story she had been with the fair trade group for a few years. Because of some very unfortunate circumstances she was the sole provider for her family through her bead-work. She was able to work from home as much or as little as she liked. Proudly she showed us pieces she had just completed and let us know that through her work she was recently able to put a new roof on her home and buy the plot of land next to her house where she planned a new outdoor kitchen and safe place for her children to play. She was also able to save money for her children's school fees, none of these things would have been possible without the fair wages she was able to earn. Hearing the pride in her voice and seeing the joy on her face as she showed what she had been able to accomplish was something I will never forget. Her children will have her amazing strength, love and example to carry them far in life.
Concepcion is part of the artisan group called Creaciones Chonita’s in Panajachel Guatemala which was started as a way to provide support and jobs for widows after the civil war that ravaged the country in the 70’s and 80’s, she makes our Lake Atitlan Bracelet as well as other intricately beaded accessories that we’ve carried over the years. Besides the story behind this bracelet it is a wonderful piece to add to any jewelry collection! The beautiful jewel tones and iridescent beads used make it amazingly universal, it can pair with any outfit. We have several gorgeous bracelets from women’s groups in Guatemala to choose from, like these magnetic styles that are truly ingenious featuring a strong magnetic clasp for ease.
As a working mom of (soon to be) two daughters I love it with our Asanga tunic from India. I actually personally own two of the colors we carry! Easy to throw on with your favorite jeans or leggings. I wear it year long, with jeans and boots or sandals and shorts! If I feel like I want a more professional look it does look fantastic tucked into a pencil skirt or high-waisted trousers. These are are lovely lightweight cotton and all hand embroidered by women artisans in Northern India.
What better way to be stylishly ethical than by representing amazing mothers around the world?!
If you have Mother’s day brunch plans or need gift ideas for the special mom in your life here are a few of my new favorite pieces!
Pictured first is the Highland Park Dress, an easy and flattering maxi style from a women's cooperative and made of organic cotton jersey. The Endless Summer Dress is a flirty 100% cotton fit and flare with a deep V neckline perfect for brunch on Mother's Day and a lovely garden wedding in June! The String Circles Necklace is an amazing concoction of mixed metal string wound around brass circles, such a beautiful statement piece that would make any lady feel amazing.
I am revisiting the fashion blog after a brief hiatus during our busy (gratefully so) holiday and winter season!
The petals are falling like snow from the trees outside our shop and everything is bright green here in Sonoma County, spring has arrived! With the arrival of spring also comes the arrival of wonderful new seasonal apparel from our very talented artisan partners in India, Nepal, Ghana, Mexico and Peru. I do love each seasons fashion in turn, I always feel ready for a change when the time comes. There is a certain romance and freshness to spring that is always exciting. I am seeing this reflected in some of my favorite pieces so far. What I look for are ways to ensure the purchases I make when investing in new pieces will take me from this season to the next and beyond. Dresses are perfect for layering in the cooler months and wearing on their own in warmer weather. The fact that our artisan partners use 100% cotton as well as their expert seamstress skills mean that these dresses will not only last a few seasons but will be staples in your wardrobe for years to come. This is another benefit of “slow fashion” vs. “fast fashion”. These pieces are made with love to last and be appreciated, not to be worn a few times and thrown away.
This screen printed All a Flutter Dress from a woman's cooperative in India epitomizes femininity and a certain retro sweetness that is so appealing. The cut has a wonderful shape, a fitted bodice with a fuller skirt. Combine that with the 100% cotton fabric and it is so easy to pair with a denim jacket or chunky knit sweater and ankle boots now in the early days of spring to strappy flats in the heat of summer. The fact that it has pockets is icing on the cake! Accessorize with blush toned jewelry accents to keep the feminine feel to the ensemble.
Next up is this Myrabelle Shirtdress style that is hand screen printed from the same women’s cooperative in India. A classic shirt dress never goes out of style, the color combination and pattern on this one give it a modern twist. Pair this with a cropped cardigan and ballet flats now then embellished sandals or espradrilles once the real heat hits. Throw on some chunky wooden accessories or statement earrings in the same hue like our Etched Crescent Earrings, a Fair Trade Panama Hat and hit the town!
This shift styleWish List Dress is maybe the easiest of all! There is subtle ruching sewn into the front and back that ensures the perfect fit. The cap sleeves and rounded neck add a bit of femininity that the graphic black and white pattern balance out perfectly. Wear now with our Ecuadorian leather rancher hats and black booties and later with your favorite summer sandals for a breezy summer feel. Add on some chunky graphic jewelry to complete either look and for any occasion!
Like mother like daughter? Not always a great thing when it comes to how we dress. The term “mother daughter fashion” might bring to mind cringe inducing awkward family photos, or memories of being forced to wear something horribly unflattering because it matched. This is exactly what I would picture before becoming a mom. Now however, there is something in me that beams at the chance to coordinate with my daughter and it does make for a wonderful photo opportunity. With Mother’s Day fast approaching it’s the perfect time to take cheery family pictures that will bring you happiness for years to come. A good way to create a cohesive but not “matchy-matchy” look is to wear similar pieces each flattering and age appropriate for the wearer, but not necessarily the same. Dresses in the same fabric or color family for example, or a t shirt and jeans combo in similar or complimentary hues.
What better way to create a wonderful memory with your daughter than to wear something made by amazing mothers in Ghana. You can feel good dressing yourself and family in beautifully handcrafted apparel from Global Mamas, whether it is for a special occasion or just every day. Global Mamas mission is to empower each mama by creating prosperity through the beautiful work they do, they are amazingly talented seamstresses, experts at batik, skilled beaders and so much more. For them being prosperous goes beyond financial well-being and includes happiness and good health. The true worth in that beautiful mission is evident in each lovingly made piece. The cotton is light and easy care, the patterns full of whimsy (notice the pineapples on my daughters dress) and the colors are so rich and beautiful. For me they are a pleasure and an honor to wear.
Why we love it:
The world of fashion is full of beautiful and unique silhouettes, many of which we adore. A classic and personal favorite of ours is the Fit and Flare. Fit and flare dresses are typically nipped in at the waist followed by a fuller skirt. The simple style is versatile, universally flattering and comes with endless styling possibilities which must be the reason we see it pop up year after year reinvented to follow current trends and seasons. The beauty of Fit & Flare is how it gives any woman a feminine hourglass shape. It is timeless as well as fun.
The fit and flare style has been popular since the 1940s among women of all ages. It can be said it stems from Christian Dior’s iconic 1947 collection that introduced the “new look”, which, like fit and flare, emphasized a small waist with a full skirt.
Wearing a fair trade version means that you will feel as good as you look. See below for some of our favorite looks featuring fair trade fit and flare dresses made by groups which focus on empowering women in marginalized areas, as well as made using many time honored traditions in craftsmanship like weaving, screen printing, and batik printing.
How to Wear
We adore the bold print and delicious colors in the Sisi Party Dress and it begs to be worn with matching heels in mustard as shown, blue or green. This wooden statement necklace is the perfect touch for a formal occasion.
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