Five Fair Trade Companies You Need to Fall in Love With
Last year, I watched “The True Cost” on Netflix. This is a documentary about the impact that the fashion industry has had on our world. While costs of fashion items have decreased, the human and environmental costs has increased dramatically. The truth is, aside from the occasional story in the news about a factory disaster, I hadn’t given much thought to the real costs of fast fashion and the safety of our fellow humans that we give up in exchange for a $10 t-shirt. After I watched this documentary, I realized that I can make a difference by where I choose to spend my money. I became determined to find fair trade companies and businesses that I could support.
So what exactly does “fair trade” mean? Essentially the phrase fair trade means that you are supporting a business that pays their farmers, makers, artisans, etc. a fair working wage and safe working environment in exchange for their work. Products that are certified fair-trade abide by higher regulations such as safe working conditions and higher pay. When you buy an item that is fair trade certified, you can be sure that you are making a difference the lives of workers and their communities.
Interested in shopping fair trade? Let me introduce you to a few of my favorites.
- Fair Trade Winds // Fair Trade Winds is based in the USA and specializes in apparel and accessories. You can buy men’s, women’s, and children’s items. It is a family owned business that has 6 brick and mortar locations as well as a website where you can purchase items.
- People Tree // People Tree has been partnering with fair trade farmers and artisans for over 20 years. They sell beautifully made women’s and men’s clothing and accessories. Right now if you sign up for their newsletter you will receive a 10% off coupon and I doubt you’ll have any trouble finding something you just have to have!
- Mata Traders // Mata Traders is also based in the USA and carries women’s clothing and accessories made by their artisans in Nepal and India. They are best known for their lovely handmade dresses. When you buy from Mata, your money is going directly to empowering women to support their families in some of the world’s poorest communities.
- Naja // If you want to buy fair trade clothing and accessories, it’s not that difficult to find them. However, when I began this journey, finding fair trade undergarments seemed to be a little hard. Enter Naja Lingerie. This USA based company’s mission is to change the way women buy and make lingerie - by empowering them instead of objectifying them. Naja primarily employs single mothers, or female heads of their household in Colombia and pays them above average wages along with health care benefits. Not only that, but according to their website, they’ve implemented flexible work policies that allow women to work and care for their children, instead of having to choose. They even provide each child of their employees with books, school supplies, uniforms, and meals. I can’t get over how awesome this company is. Next time you need a bra, underwear, or swimsuit, think Naja. You can even enter your email to send $15 to a friend, and get $15 for yourself to spend.
- Elegantees // I’m sure you’re still overwhelmed by the goodness from Naja, but now you need to get acquainted with Elegantees. Elegantees itemed are designed here in the USA and sewn by survivors of sex-trafficking in Nepal. Elegantees’ employees are able to generate source of income allowing them to regain their confidence and feelings of self-worth. One of the best ways to decrease the prevalence of sex trafficking is by helping to eliminate poverty. Elegantees currently employees 10 sewists in Nepal, and hopes to someday employ hundreds. Elegantees carries soft t-shirts and dresses and you’ll fall in love immediately. Shoppers in the USA receive free shipping on orders of at least $75 and you can even host a trunk show in your home!
Now get your shopping on! If you’re interested in learning more about fair trade companies, make sure to watch The True Cost, and head to Fair Trade USA to learn more about their mission.