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Supporting fair trade, ethically made, and artisans is more important than ever. One of my favorite fair trade made brands is Mata Traders, they employ women artisans and focus on sustainable practices that are good for artisans, consumers, and our planet.
Treating artisans fairly with safe work environments, a living wage, and benefits isn’t the only thing I look for in a fair trade brand. I also want to see sustainable practices, ethnically and size diverse models as well as a wide selection of sizing options. Mata Traders is doing an exemplary job in all those fronts!
This season, Spring 2020, they introduced linen blends and I’m officially in love. As well as continually expanding their catalog with more plus side friendly styles so more people can experience the wonders of fair trade fashion. Mata Traders features organic cotton fibers, supple cotton wovens, cotton/spandex jersey knits and cotton/linen blends with hand silk screened patterns and hand embroidery that pay homage to traditional Indian techniques.
What is Fair Trade Certified and why does it matter?
Here are some of the Fair Trade Federation Principles:
Create Opportunities for economically and socially marginalized farmers and artisans.
Develop Transparent and Accountable Relationshipswith artisans and farmers.
Build Capacity of farmers, artisans, and their communities.
Pay Promptly and Fairly by discussing costs and pricing openly.
Support Safe and Empowering Working Conditions that are free of discrimination and forced labor.
Cultivate Environmental Stewardship by encouraging responsible use of resources and eco-friendly production.
Ensure the Rights of Children by never using exploitative child labor.
Respect the Cultural Identity of the farmers and artisans and celebrate diversity.
I often find myself thinking Fair Trade is how all business should be run but it’s not. When we learn to value people, their craft, and their culture we create a more hospitable world for all. Learn more here, www.FairTradeFederation.org/Principles
Mata Traders works with co-ops in India that empower women to navigate their own lives. These artisan cooperatives are similar to social service agencies in the support they provide to end the cycle of poverty for the members and their families. Health care, paid maternity leave, retirement pensions, and daycare: all part of the membership package. Garments are assembled by one individual instead of being a part of a production line. Embroidered pieces are hand stitched by women from their own homes. In a traditional society like India’s, women don’t usually work outside the home so when they arrive at the Co-op many are shy and quiet. Working through the co-op provides them with sewing skills, leadership opportunities, and a community. This is about so much more than clothes, it is about empowering women in India and knowing you have a direct impact on lives globally by how you buy!