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Monday, April 6, 2009

Eco Fashion - Fair Trade Clothing and Accessories with Responsibility

The importance of eco-friendly products is globally recognized, not only for the health of the planet but to promote individual health as well.  Fair trade industries are making even more of a mark by combining the benefits of environmentally safe, chemical-free manufacturing and cultivation with social responsibility and concern.   Fair trade coffee and chocolate are already mainstream staples for a green lifestyle - fair trade fashion is becoming just as popular, beginning in Europe and finally making progress in North America as well.  
What is Fair Trade?
Lack of safety standards, ridiculously low labor wages, competitive markets, and strict trade policies have been reasons for many manufacturers to shift their productions to developing countries.  While some may argue that these jobs are beneficial to the developing world, the conditions, pay, and hours are usually extremely inhumane.  
Fair trade industries and organizations provide a solution to this problem.  Farmers, craftsmen, and artisans can work acceptable hours in a safe, clean environment.  Local cooperatives work directly with suppliers and workers to build the community and ensure that local needs are met by providing fair wages and conditions.  
Fair trade products are globally beneficial, providing consumers with beautiful - often handmade - wares at a reasonable price while boosting developing economies and improving the well-being of residents within those communities.  Fair trade is socially responsible, as well as environmentally responsible.  All fair trade products are cultivated or crafted using the most sustainable methods available, without chemicals and toxins.
Fair Trade Fashion Beauties
UK-based company, People Tree, is a pioneer of fair trade fashion.  People Tree works with 50 different fair trade groups in 15 countries and provides training and supervision to ensure fair wages, acceptable work and living conditions, and beautiful, sustainable clothing and accessories for the entire family.  
Organic, fair trade cotton is the foundation for most People Tree products.  Natural dyes and recycled or biodegradable materials are also incorporated as local artisans hand embroider, screen print, and weave unique fair trade products.  
Last month, People Tree founder Safia Minney and organic beauty princess Jo Wood launched the People Tree Foundation - a nonprofit organization offering even more support to the fair trade industry.  You can support the People Tree Foundation and their mission by purchasing the fair trade charm bracelet created by Bombolulu in Kenya.
In the United States, Fair Trade clothing is a new trend.  Fair trade certification is not yet available for cotton or apparel, but Fair Indigo is on the road to changing that.  The Wisconsin based company designs spectacular fair trade fashion for men and women, along with a tremendous selection of products for infants and children.  Fair Indigo partners with ethical producers around the world to provide sustainable clothing and accessories, while also improving the well-being of the local communities manufacturing the products.
Those in the Wisconsin area can shop in the Madison Fair Indigo store, while others can buy fair trade clothing directly through the Fair Indigo website.  Five-percent of every sale supports the Fair Indigo Foundation or you can purchase a Fair Indigo logo tee and all profits benefit growth of the fair trade industry.
Images: People Tree and Fair Indigo

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