Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Capelette - I love this

Just had to share this item as I love it so much from Be Sweet (www.besweetproducts.com)

Great men's label: Fair Indigo

I am always on the look out for new brands and came across Fair Indigo, their men's collection is great.

Fair Indigo has searched the world for the best factories and co-ops producing the highest quality clothing and accessories while paying their workers fairly and treating them with respect.

Rib 1/4-Zip Pullover - $49
This Peruvian factory understands fair trade. In addition to fair wages, employees earn a generous bonus each year as part of a profit-sharing program. In addition to paying fair wages, shares its profits with its employees, provides them a free hot lunch, and supplies free on-site medical care for workers and their families $49.00

Alpaca Long Scarf $39

Alpaca is the key to helping more than 150,000 of the poorest families in the Andes Mountain region of Peru who rely on the alpaca for their prime source of income. Many of these herders have recently banded together to sell to factories in bulk, cutting out middlemen and receiving a higher percentage of profits. Made in Arequipa, Peru.

In addition to paying workers fair wages Fair Indigo believe that the best way to help developing countries prosper is through education. As a result, they have established the Fair Indigo Foundation — a not-for-profit organization dedicated to improving educational opportunities in the developing countries where their factories and co-ops are located.
Fair Indigo is donating 5% of its profits to the Foundation to support its educational projects and programs. Plus, 100% of the net proceeds from the Fair Indigo Logo Tee go directly to the Foundation’s programs.

What is fair trade?

A lot of people have been asking to me to post some more information on fair trade and what it is all about in the fashion industry. So here is some information

What is fair trade?
Quite simply, fair trade means that producers are paid fair prices for the products they produce, instead of the minimum prices that the marketplace will allow, as is the case in the mainstream market today.

What does “fair” mean? Who defines it?
While there is no universally accepted measuring stick for what a fair price or a fair wage is, it is generally accepted that farmers or workers earning a fair price or wage are able to live relatively comfortable lives within the context of their local area. This means enough money for housing, a generous amount of food, health care, education for children, and some disposable income.

What types of fair trade products are available for purchase?
Traditionally, fair trade has been limited to commodities such as coffee, tea, fruits, and cotton. Fair trade coffee has become especially popular in Europe, and recently has made significant gains in the United States.

Why has fair trade been limited mainly to commodities?
Commodities like coffee and fruits offer a very simple economic model. They are traded in commodity markets daily, resulting in a “market price.” Importers can purposely choose to pay farmers more than this going market price.

Manufactured goods like clothing are much more complicated because components often come from literally dozens of sources. Also, wages, labor laws, and factory conditions are much more difficult to monitor compared to commodity prices.

Who determines if a product is worthy of being called “fair trade”?
Currently in the United States, the only organization that certifies fair trade products is TransFair USA (one of over twenty members of the worldwide Fair Trade Labeling Organizations International (FLO)). TransFair USA currently certifies to coffee, tea, cocoa, sugar, rice, vanilla, and certain fruits (mangos, bananas, pineapples, and grapes).

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Fair Trade Coffee

The United States consumes one-fifth of all the world's coffee, making it the largest consumer in the world. But few Americans realize that agriculture workers in the coffee industry often toil in what can be described as "sweatshops in the fields." Many small coffee farmers receive prices for their coffee that are less than the costs of production, forcing them into a cycle of poverty and debt.

Fair Trade is a viable solution to this crisis, assuring consumers that the coffee we drink was purchased under fair conditions. To become Fair Trade certified, an importer must meet stringent international criteria; paying a minimum price per pound of $1.26, providing much needed credit to farmers, and providing technical assistance such as help transitioning to organic farming. Fair Trade for coffee farmers means community development, health, education, and environmental stewardship.

Starbucks only purchases between 1-2% of it's coffee through fair trade. Although Starbucks claim that they only purchase coffee from farmers where good labour practices are endorsed for workers. Starbucks offers bags of whole bean fair trade coffee for sale, however the coffee it brews is not. After campaigning in 2003, Starbucks have agreed to offer brewed fair trade coffee on request. The only way to increase the amount Starbucks purchases through fair trade its to increase the demand for brewed fair trade coffee. So if are going to drink Starbucks coffee, as over-roasted as some people think it is, try and ask for fair trade.

DC Fashion Week

To coincide the Fashion for Development Show with DC Fashion week I have decided that I will have the big fashion show and conference on 22 February 2007

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Silk weavers in Banglore

In October 2006 the Governement introduced new laws banning children under the age of 14 from working. Although the laws protect children and ban the use of young workers in hazardous industries, they remain ineffective in many areas. Thousands of children continue to work in or are involved in silk weaving and embroidery. Silk weaving forms the basis for some of India's most highly prized clothing, particularly saris. For many years children were central to the work as there was a myth that children's fingers were more nimble than adults' for such jobs. The children were often harmed by cramped working conditions and the loud music which was played with the intention of keeping them entertained.

Many parents say crippling poverty forces them to send their children, sometimes as young as five or six, to work in people's homes or even factories. Most of these children are made to work in unhealthy conditions for very long hours and paid poorly. Wages are usually pocket money of 50 rupees (just over $1) a week, and at the end of the month employers typically send money to the child's parents typically around 800 rupees (roughly $17)
It is estimated that more than 12.6 million child workers in India. 53% of children drop out before finishing seventh grade (12-13 years old). Although projects have been set up to send children back to school, due to the introduction of the new law, , India will struggle to meet universal primary education, as set out by the UN's Millenium Development Goals.

Ten Thousand Villages (www.tenthousandvillages.com) is a fair trade market place which supports local communities and their artisans around the world, including India, using fair trade . Its goals include educating parents to send their children to school, to afford adequate food and clothing and to improve the quality of their lives and thair communities.

My top pick is this Metal Cuff Bracelet $28 from Asha Handicrafts .

DC Fashionista: Our first event

Our first event was a huge success. I was there promoting Fashion for Development and showcased Pangea's holiday gifts. I support the business goals of Pangea and really believe using fair trade to promote the work of local communities really bring out the best way to ensure future development in developing countries. I also believe, that in general, locally made products are much more unique and as such can really make an outfit look really stylish.

Pangea, which means “all lands”, is a celebration and tribute to the spirit and resilience of artisans in developing countries, mainly women.

These artists use traditional handicraft techniques to produce exquisite, high-end fashion accessories and home d├ęcor products - while they have almost no opportunity to use their dynamic skills to generate income for their families.

Pangea is located in DC, at 21st and Pennsylvania.

P.S Bonnie I totally salute your corset belts - I love the one you altered for me - thank you!!

Here is a link to Bonnie's blog http://blovedfashion.blogspot.com/

Saturday, December 2, 2006

Keeping it Simple for World Peace

Although not as professional as the fashion fights poverty show the designers were incredible. It is interesting how as a designer turns famous they suddenly have to compete for the attention of critics by designing ludacris outfits that would never be worn on the high street.

The designers were all small and of African-American Descent. The money raised was for a school in Africa. My favourite collection by far was by the Nigerian designer Estella Couture.