Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Does Fair Trade count as Retail?

I had to get some more clothes for the colony....went looking for long skirts and found a few but was really uninspired. Do I have to wear blah for the next 6 months to avoid retail? Then I thought...duh! Fair trade clothes! Did a search and found many great links to online shopping for Fair Trade clothes. Found the above skirt in the clearance section that was hand made in Thailand by a group of women that make a FAIR living creating long skirts. I have asked for more information about them and when they return my email I will post about them.

During my search I came across so many organizations that support and sell Fair Trade items. You can get just about anything from an artisan from just about anywhere in the world. Some offer free shipping. Some offer to buy a uniform for a girl in Africa if you buy a T-shirt. Some have so much turnover that the styles change weekly. It's AWESOME! LOL!

The following links are the best I found:

Livingethically - from the UK but has so many links to Fair Trade and green products. I spent a lot of time checking it out.

Globalgirlfriend.com - Fair Trade by women for women

Organicsfairtrade - lots of organic cotton clothes

Commonthreadz - if you purchase a tshirt they will donate a uniform to a girl in Africa

Thehungersite - loved it! so much to choose from and support of so many causes

Mercadoglobal - higher end styles

Novica - an offiliate of National Geographic that not only sells Fair Trade items but you can actually give a micro loan to a poor woman overseas.

Nomadsorginals.com and Secondworld.com are good too but not a huge inventory.

The skirt fits...it said one size fits all...but a little snug. If you are built like me and a little bigger then you had better check their sizing. Fair Trade clothes tend to be a bit smaller than Western sizing.

So the question is....Is buying Fair Trade considered an exception as the items are purchased directly from the creator? No sweat shops....very few middle men taking their cut...most if not all of the profit goes to the people that make it. If we buy Fair Trade are we not doing a GOOD thing? The skirt was mailed to me from Thailand...so there is the environmental impact to think of.

What do you think? Can I buy Fair Trade or do I have to take a hit for my score?


PS. If you say I can buy Fair Trade don't tell my husband...lol....the credit card may take a bit of a hit. The clothes are so unique and the art work fabulous!

1 comment:

  1. This is completely my shopping/consumption philosophy so I support your choice! We impact others with how we spend our dollars, and what better way than a win/win purchase where someone's creativity and personal sense of artistry/confidence are supported and we get a beautiful, quality, unique 'product'? It may cost more of our dollars, but isn't that the point?

    See Raj Patel's 'The Value of Nothing' - a brilliant take on global consumption. (you might also be interested in his other book - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stuffed_and_Starved

    I would argue that this is a much more ethical and integrous way of consuming resources than even shopping at thrift stores and re-using Walmart-type products...

    You don't necessarily need to look overseas for these kind of merchants either - see ten thousand villages, twice shy clothing, etc. We just need to do the research (as you have!), and be willing to part with the almighty dollars. I think we can afford it though - it makes us much more mindful about our choices, and we value our products that much more.