Fair Trade Fashion Show Comes to LA!

Click me to go directly to ticketing!

This Saturday I’ll be at the Fair Trade Fashion Show in downtown LA. I am really looking forward to this event! It’s so exciting to see fair-trade fashion showcased, and for such a good cause. Slavery is a massive problem in this industry. I even worked with a freed slave once.

One of the patternmakers I worked with told me how she made it to America from Vietnam. She had saved up all the money required for the trip, but also had to give them her wedding ring. They sailed from Vietnam, headed to another country (I forgot which one) where she could catch a flight to Los Angeles. She told me they spent days in a small boat without enough water. She eventually made it to LA, where she had to work as an indentured servant in a sewing factory. Luckily for her, she made it out of that and was able to stay in Los Angeles.

She became fluent in English, learned a more valuable skill (patternmaking), and made a home for herself here. I wish more people could say the same.

Join us on Saturday to support Free The Slaves and learn more about fair trade fashion!

TransFair Develops Fair Trade Certification for Apparel

A child in Zanzibar wearing a secondhand dress from…

Recently I met with Tierra Forte of TransFair USA, to discuss the new apparel certification pilot program they’re developing to extend fair trade benefits and protections beyond just the farm, but also for factory workers. I am very excited about this, as one of the main reasons I chose to pursue an MBA in Sustainability was to find a way to help improve labor conditions for apparel industry workers. Having worked in the US apparel industry for over a decade, I’ve witnessed the shift from domestic to foreign to predominantly Chinese manufacturing, and all of the benefits and difficulties that encompassed.

67% of American Consumers Don’t Know Fair Trade

The United States represents 30% of the fair trade market, even though only 33% of American consumers know what “fair trade” means. Have you explained it to your friends and family yet? I didn’t even know how environmentally rigorous the certification is until I dug into TransFair’s website. TransFair teaches and empowers producers to become stewards of their environment, so that Fair Trade Certified products are also environmentally responsible. For example, with apparel, they only approve factories which already meet the legal environmental standards. This is a big deal in countries where many textile mills dump toxic waste into the water supply as part of the dyeing and finishing processes. 58% of TransFair’s commodity products are also certified organic, and this is increasing.

Clothing- Slightly More Complicated Than Coffee

Most people do not realize the amount of time and effort it takes to develop and manufacture a garment, and therefore undervalue clothing. Apparel uses a very complex supply chain which involves a broad range of suppliers.

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