The Pros and Cons of Fair Trade

When I first learned about fair trade, my initial reactions were those of admiration for an industry that sought to challenge the ways in which we consume, purchase, and create products. From the production line to the packaging to wages, it seemed fair trade had all of the answers. I’ve written about fair trade and the industry’s principles in many posts including a post for Mother’s Day. Although I still support and respect the principles, I am constantly taken back to my memories of one of my former supervisors who strongly disliked fair trade. When I asked her what the difference between fair trade and sustainable fashion was, she responded, “When you work more in the industry, you’ll see the difference and understand why fair trade may not be enough.” At the time, I didn’t quite realize the full meaning behind her statement. Why would she not support an industry that sets out to change how we manufacture and consume products? Continue Reading ›

How To Bring Fair Trade Into Everyday Life

With the beginning of October, there’s more than fall starting up. You’ve heard plenty about Pumpkin Spice Lattes, suggestions about how to layer scarves and jackets, and why Europe is a great destination for this time of year. What you may not have heard about is that it’s Fair Trade Month! If you’re a supporter of sustainable and ethical fashion, you are probably already familiar with this month and will start receiving ideas from bloggers about where to shop for fair trade and companies will be updating you with the latest about their artisans’ achievements. While there are some controversies about the effectiveness of fair trade, I still think there’s something to be said for fair trade’s goals and principles. In fact, I think we can incorporate them into our daily lives beyond buying coffee, chocolate, and clothing from fair trade companies. Let me show you how: Continue Reading ›

Sustainable and Ethical Fashion for Summer

Main PhotoIf you follow fashion bloggers, by now you’ve seen many posts featuring popular looks and styles as well as endorsements for products this summer. There’s a lot of different trends, fashions, and styles out there, eager for your purchase, but before you make your purchase, I’d urge you to consider a few principles I’ve adopted from sustainable and ethical fashion. Why should that matter? After completing Tortoise and Lady Grey’s 20-Day Sustainable Fashion Challenge and considering other challenges like The 30×30 Capsule Wardrobe Challenge discussed on Celeste Fohl’s blog Bookish & Belle, I’m beginning to see how little I need in my wardrobe to be stylish. As an advocate of sustainable and ethical fashion, I’ve found the importance of reducing waste and supporting companies and organizations that use natural dyes, recycled materials, and provide fair treatment for their workers. Hearing this description, you probably think sustainable and ethical fashion is for Hippies, or its support of eco-friendly practices means it’s ugly. This actually isn’t the case. To show you what I mean, I’ve created some outfits to show you how you can use certain principles from sustainable and ethical fashion to create fun, fashionable summer outfits.

For each outfit, these are the guidelines I’ve set for myself to incorporate sustainable and ethical fashion:

  • Using items already in my wardrobe instead of purchasing.
  • Purchase new only from sustainable and ethical companies.
  • Purchase from second-hand shops.
  • Make items for my wardrobe.
  • Mend and repair items, instead of throwing them out.
  • Repurpose wardrobe items into another piece of clothing or other item.

With each purchase I’ll also list prices and companies so you know where you can shop and how affordable it can be. If I make something, I’ll also indicate where I plan on using leftover scraps so you can see that each piece of fabric is used. Last but not least, if I have something already from my wardrobe, I’ll share how many years I’ve had it so you can see how timeless, classic pieces have longevity and can enhance your wardrobe. Even if I don’t all of these principles in my post, I’ll have them handy for future outfits so you can see how to do the same with your wardrobe. So, without further hesitation, let’s begin! Continue Reading ›

W.T.F. is World Fair Trade?

Fair Trade labels


May 10th probably seems like any other ordinary day, but what you might not realize is that it’s World Fair Trade Day.  OK, so what’s that?  It’s a celebration of organizations and businesses that support the principles of Fair Trade.  You may not realize it, but many products today are becoming certified and recognized for Fair Trade.  These products include everything from coffee to chocolate to clothing.  And?  W.T.F. does that mean?

Continue Reading ›