ethical fashion

The Purchasing Power - Post Thanksgiving

I hope everyone had a wonderful and meaningful Thanksgiving. I hope it was not only tasty and filling but also a time to share with friends and family while reflecting on the things you are thankful for this year and in life. 

Sadly, this time of year is also a crazy push for mass consumerism. What with some major stores starting Black Friday on Thursday night, the eve of Thanksgiving, the hype of rushing to stores to grab a deal has gone bananas! I am not excluded from this equation. I admit, I purchased winter boots and a printer, but sadly it was only because I had the day off. The whole concept of mass purchasing on this post-Thanksgiving weekend is disturbing. Yet every year we dive into Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals so we can all save a few bucks.

That all said and done, I do believe that there is much good and positive outcome to this crazy American ritual. We have dubbed the Saturday after Thanksgiving, Small Business Saturday and a combination of Fair Tuesday and Giving Tuesday for the Tuesday after. These 2 special days allow us to make a direct difference in people's lives locally and globally. Small businesses provide jobs, taxes, connect and give back money to local communities, while ethical or fair trade businesses provide the same things to communities abroad.

Photos from  Soom Foods ,  Mata Traders  &  Sundara .

Giving Tuesday gives people the opportunity to make a contribution to non-profits. Fair Tuesday provides consumers the opportunity to make a purchase that will most likely help a small business, but more importantly make a difference to someone and/or a community on abroad. If you read this blog on a regular basis, you already know that I design for a wonderful fair trade company called Mata Traders. They produce clothing and jewelry through women cooperatives in India and Nepal. These cooperatives provide fair wages, health clinics, schooling for their children and much more. The jewelry and garments that they make are beautiful and with every purchase you can have piece of mind that it was made fairly and ethically. You can find a list of  fair trade companies here

Another company (a new one!) worth checking out is Sundara. Sundara is a soap company with a social mission to not only be a vegan & eco friendly product, but to promote hand washing to children and communities in Thailand, India & Ghana. These soaps not only look beautiful but provide a service that helps save lives and promote wellness all over the world. Plus, the ingredients they use look amazing!  

A great way to find a company that gives back is at One Percent for the Planet. This site provides a list of companies that give 1% of their profit to loads of non-profits that give back to our planet. I heard about this site from my friends over at Soom Foods. This trio of sisters, produce and sell delicious Tehina with a social message (check out their amazing recipes! I never knew you can do so much with Tehina).

These companies and these 2 special days after Thanksgiving make if possible to use our purchasing powers to create change on a local and global scale. Please consider finding a local and ethical business that produces and sells what you need and make a difference in communities near and far this holiday season (and beyond!) 

The Business of Fast Fashion

I was made aware of a wonderful illustrative video from the MinuteMBA series. This one in particular hits home because over the last few years working for an small ethical/fair-trade fashion company, I am able to really see what fast fashion has done. It's difficult, of course, with a limited budget wanting something cheap and on trend once in a while, but long term these clothes don't last and are out of style within months. It is not sustainable. I have become more conscious of my purchasing choices and will now opt for a well made dress or sweater rather than grab 5 cheap things from a fast fashion store.

Since I started designing at Mata Traders and seeing the process of fashion from start to finish, it has reinforced my desire to design but with fairness, social justice and sustainability in mind. Maybe if society as a whole starts to think about purchasing choices and less of quantity and trend, we would be able to find a healthy balance that fits all types of budgets & styles, while heading in a more ethical and sustainable direction. 

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Featured on Jezebel

Yesterday, my friend Becca posted something exciting on my Facebook page - Jezebel, a famous feminist blog/website, geared towards women's interests and media (and one of  several blogs owned by Gawker Media), featured a piece on their "Group Think" page on "Ethical Fashion". In it, the writer describes her desire to start making conscious garment purchases through ethical and fair trade companies. One company mentioned was Mata Traders... and guess whose print made it up as the image for the article? You guessed it!!! (In case you needed some help, the textiles on the dress on the left is mine!) To read the article and comments click here!

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