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Indie Peace: Making their “Mark” on the Eco-Friendly Fair Trade world

I am very aware of the fact that the current fair trade and eco-friendly clothing industry is strongly oriented towards women. I am also aware of the fact that this needs to be changed. Many men have complained to me about the lack of conscious options for them. That’s why I feel it is so important to inform my readers about a wonderful company, Indie Peace, that has been brought to my attention.

Indie Peace’s motto is: “We are making a mark, without leaving one.”

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Photosource: http://indiepeace.myshopify.com

The “mark” their talking about of course is a carbon footprint. Indie Peace, which define’s itself as a “socially responsible, fashion apparel company”, was started July 2007 by Lawton Ursrey and fashion designer John Van De Wiel.

While Indie Peace has a women’s line in addition to their men’s line, the company began only with a men’s line, which is still more developed. So I know you’ve been chomping at the bit for this opportunity guys! Shop away at their online store, available here 🙂

Indie Peace has spent the time to think critically about how to make shirts sewn in such a way as to enhance your natural body shape. They have broadened the shoulder line and defined the abdomen area, giving your body more of a natural v shape. As the enhancement of ones’ natural shape usually stays in the area of women’s clothing, this is a very unique aspect in the industry of men’s shirts.

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Photosource: http://indiepeace.myshopify.com

So not only will you look great wearing Indie Peace t-shirts, but you can feel great about your purchase! Their shirts are referred to as “PEACE GOODS” because all the most environmentally conscious products and means are used throughout every stage in their production: Their t-shirts are made only with natural or low impact dyes or water based printing inks; they are manufactured from 100% organic cotton, hemp, RPET (recycled poly), or bamboo; and Indie Peace, “make(s) every attempt to minimize the amount of travel INDIE PEACE clothing must make throughout the supply chain.” In this vain, they use minimalistic and socially responsible products all the way through the packaging materials.

In addition to being as environmentally conscious as possible, Indie Peace products are all manufactured under Fair Trade conditions. Indie Peace intentionally keeps all the manufacturing inside the USA to localize the supply chain, to provide work to many US factories and the local work force, as well as to decrease the overall carbon footprint of their operations.

 

So what are you waiting for? Go shop and Indie Peace, and start erasing your “mark” on the planet.

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Celebrate World Fair Trade Day 09!

 
 As I am a Fair Trade Fashionista* I think it’s only appropriate that I make all you aware of the annual World Fair Trade Day 09 coming up this Saturday!

This holiday officially began as recently as 2001, when the World Fair Trade Organization adopted the event in Arusha, Tanzania. Safia Minney, founder of PeopleTree and pioneer of Fair Trade Fashion, has played an important role in shaping this global event.

World Fair Trade Day takes place the second Saturday of every May now. It is meant t raise awareness about the issue through public group activities, such as “Fair Trade Coffee Breaks” and Fair Trade festivals at High Schools.

To find an event happening in your area on World Fair  Trade Day, look here. With 310 event listed in North America, 250 in Europe, 30 in Africa, and 98 in Asia, it seems that no matter where you are, you can help us celebrate World Fair Trade Day this year!

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Even if you don’t have time to attend an event, stop by and make your own Fair Trade day with a bar of Fair Trade chocolate, some Fair Trade Coffee, or a Fair Trade clothing shopping spree! Whatever you’d like, just make it Fair Trade.

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Photosource: http://www.worldfairtradeday09.org/

Fair Trade is essential for millions of people who work and struggle for survival everyday. It’s all about justice and human rights… join me in supporting World Fair Trade Day” -Sir Paul McCartney.

Let’s raise awareness about this important cause together, because the only way Fair Trade products can continue to grow in popularity is through support from people like you. We must come together to support one another around the world, and Saturday is a perfect day to do so!

For more events and details on World Fair Trade Day, see the official website.

Amana delivers Eco-Fair Trade High Fashion in Style!

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Photosource: www.inhabitat.com

Amana is a Moroccan Arabic word that means “delivered in trust.” As a company devoted to Eco-Chic and Fair Trade fashion, Amana’s meets their goal of “mak(ing) beautiful clothes with ethical origins and to illustrate that environmentally and society responsible fashion can equate to exquisite design and quality.”

They launched at Fashion Week in London in 2007 and have stayed true to their values ever since.  

Started by Helen Wood and Erin Tabrar, Amana supports women artisans in Ain Leuh, a charming village in the Middle Atlas Mountains in Morocco on a fair-trade basis. In addition, they work with artisans to develop longer-term partnerships, technical assistance, as well as development and training programs.

Helen first became interested in sustainable design while studying fashion design at Central St. Martin’s. Erin completed a dissertation on ethical fashion while studying management at The London College of Fashion. Together, their creativity has proven unstoppable.

Amana’s collections include materials such as organic cotton, organic silks and hemp mixes, hemp denim, chunky hemp cord. Much of their collection is business casual, but a little more elegant and edgy. I have chosen a couple of my favorite pieces from Amana’s Spring 09 collection to highlight for you: 

The Eleonora Tunic Dress (see below) in ‘Coral’ from Amana’s newest Spring 09 collection is a perfect example in a beautiful hue for Spring and Summer, and a shine that could make any woman feel beautiful.

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I could see a young, hip, and sexy Jackie O. wearing this dress. I absolutely adore the bow at the waist and the feminine fit.

 

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Photosource: www.amanalondon.com

But if it’s not enough that the Eleonora dress is a slice of fashion heaven, it also is good for the environment and the world. It is made from 100% Organically produced silk and dyed with low impact dyes in the UK.

 Also the ‘Lamis Top’ is something I could not ignore! It looks so wonderfully shiny, has fluted sleeves that fall perfectly over the shoulders for a little elegance and fits tightly over the abdomen to compliment your womanly waist. 

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Photosource: www.amanalondon.com

 This Lamis top with a “slash neck (line)” is made from 100% organic cotton or Navy Soy Jersey 57%, Soybean37%, Organic Cotton 6% and a little spandex for your comfort. This is versatile as it could be worn at a formal affair, to work, or out on the town. I want one for myself!

I can’t thank Amana enough for providing Fair Trade Fashionista*s like myself with chic handmade outfits with no cost to their producers or the Earth. Keep up the good work Amana! Check out these pieces and more at Amana today!

Cadbury hops into Easter with Fair Trade Chocolate!

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It’s almost April, and everyone knows what that means..Easter! When I was a child, Easter meant eggs in the dryer, on the porch, and under my bed, filled with wonderful jellybeans and chocolate! I loved everything about Easter except that my mother would make my sisters and I wear these bright floral patterned dresses with mismatching hats (with elastic under the chin, Ouch!) to go to church. You all know the outfits I’m talking about, probably too intimately. Definitely a fashion no-no, but we pulled them off only as adorable little children could. We’ll I’ve come a long way since those days, but I still love Easter.

That’s why I’m so excited that Cadbury has taken a step to help me love Easter even more, so I wanted to take a moment to tell all you Fair Trade Fashionista’s about the latest and greatest news in the Fair Trade world.

Cadbury Dairy Milk – A leading chocolate bar in the UK – has announced that they will use Fair Trade cocoa starting this summer. This great news for cocoa farmers, as well as the Fair Trade movement, and will result in Fair Trade chocolate making up for 15% of all chocolate sold in the UK.

Let’s use this announcement as a cause for celebration, but also as continued inspiration to keep pushing Cadbury and all the other major cocoa consumers in the US to make the same decision – use Fair Trade cocoa in the chocolate available in the US market.

We want to thank Cadbury from the bottom of our hearts for taking this step, but encourage them to further this step into the US markets.

Especially in this time when Cadbury’s popular chocolate Easter eggs are selling like hot cakes across the US , we need to make Cadbury realize how much we, as consumers, value Fair Trade here in the US.  

Cadbury needs to hear from you and thousands of others who want to know that none of their chocolate purchases are supporting exploitative child labor in the cocoa industry.

And Green America has made it even easier for you to make your voice heard by writing a letter you can sign in seconds by clicking this link.

When you sign the letter to Cadbury, you’ll not only be thanking them for their new green step overseas, but also pushing for more Fair Trade options here in the States. 

This step taken by Cadbury proves that the excuse that all other major chocolate labels hide behind –  that it’s not possible to pay a fair wage and support workers across the supply chain without passing prohibitive costs along to the consumer – is false.

And please, pass this along to everyone you know and have them sign the letter as well, because together we can change the world!

Fair Trade Certification

Official Fair Trade Certification Symbol

Official Fair Trade Certification Symbol

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.

Welcome lovers of Fair Trade, sustainable living and fashion!

I have chosen to start a blog to ensure that ethical living techniques I use do not end with me! If we are going to change the way the world works and lessen the powerful grip corporations hold over our lives, we will need to do it together.

I see myself as a “vigilante consumer”, as I am a passionate fair trade activist and young college graduate. I believe that it will be bottom-up rather than top-down advocacy that will finally break the world free of corporate power. Bottom-up techniques are grass roots based, top-down techniques consist of attempts to pass government legislation, which also requires the development of some kind of enforcement mechanism, that tricky thing.

While one could find almost any product made under Fair Trade standards today, many often do not know where to look. In this blog, I will try to illustrate the places you can find products you are searching for. My main goals will be to educate, as well as inspire people to join forces in this effort to convert the world’s current consumption patterns from negatively affecting people’s lives in many developing countries, to positively affecting them. And will do so with an eye to the latest fashions.