Before I get into all the wonderful chic products I have found which are Fair trade, I thought I would mention what it means for products to be Fair Trade; certified or not.
Generally, a product is certified as Fair trade when workers creating a product were paid what is considered a “fair wage” in their region. How much a “fair wage” is decided by different Fair Trade certification bodies. However, a fair wage usually guarantees the wage workers are paid allows them to support their families and keeps children from having to work.
According to TransFair USA:
The Fair Trade Certified™ label guarantees consumers that strict economic, social and environmental criteria were met in the production and trade of an agricultural product. Fair Trade Certification is currently available in the U.S. for coffee, tea and herbs, cocoa and chocolate, fresh fruit, flowers, sugar, rice, and vanilla. TransFair USA licenses companies to display the Fair Trade Certified label on products that meet strict international Fair Trade standards.
However, this certification process, developed with only good intent, has also become controversial at times. For one, some small artisan groups do not have the time or money to have a huge certification body to inspect their cooperative. For this reason, there are many artisan groups whose products I would honor as Fair Trade but which are not certified officially because of the political and bureaucratic tendencies of the certification system that now exists. Also, as Tazo Chocolates in Somerville, MA, directly trades with artisan groups in Mexico, while Tazo chocolate is not certified Fair Trade, because of their business ethics and direct link to the farmers, their products are honestly manufactured and I would also consider them Fair Trade.
As you can see Fair Trade certification is an extremely complicated theme, and I have only very briefly over viewed it for you. To read more about Fair Trade certification systems, read a blog from Green Cotton, called Fair Trade: What it is and how to certify.