What is Fair Trade Clothing?

What is Fair Trade Clothing?

What is fair trade?

Fair trade refers to a social movement that defends the safety and well-being of countries that act as trading partners. In many situations, especially when dealing with the trade and production of clothing materials, people are subjected to harsh, unethical conditions. In some countries, children are forced to endure long hours of labor, without proper breaks and in hazardous conditions. Fair trade aims to promote the act of only doing business with countries and organizations that produce their materials under fair conditions. Consumers should research and understand fair trade facts to make informed decisions at the cash register. A number of organizations advocate this movement, which allows interested people to learn ways to shop fair trade and learn which companies operate under these practices.

Proponents of fair trade apparel emphasize that this is not an issue only endemic of other countries. The United States features a number of instances of unfair or forced labor, in a wide variety of fields. The fair trade apparel movement aims to shine light on these situations, and promote practices that are equitable to all parties involved. In the United States, many immigrants are taken advantage of, and forced to endure harsh labor for under the table wages, in order to beat taxes and save money on overhead costs. Consumers who adhere to fair trade practices do not do business with such companies, and make sure that they support companies who are straight forward in their production and trade practices. Today, companies of all types have joined the movement. Whether a person is looking for dress clothes, casual clothes, jeans, hats, underwear, shoes or even pajamas, plenty of manufacturers have gotten onboard.

Fair Trade clothing is made possible through the use of proper labeling. Businesses that conduct fair and ethical practices, as outlined by the Fair Trade movement, adopt the fair trade label in order to let consumers know that they are certified. This movement began in the 1950s, when humanitarians began looking after the interests of people in impoverished countries. Any consumers looking to partake in the movement need to understand that the label tells the story, so they should check these fair trade facts carefully whenever buying such items. Rather than simply looking at the label, a person should look into the labeling process and learn what a company has to do to become certified. This way, they will not only understand that a company bears the label, but will understand the meaning behind the label.

Researching Fair Trade and taking action allow people of all age groups and walks of life to take control of their purchases and become good stewards of their resources. The question, "What is fair trade?" becomes clearer after some research. Consumers who participate in this movement are simply spending money with businesses who practice and believe in humanitarian efforts, while choosing not to do business with those who don't. One can think of this process as casting a vote for the betterment of the world, and doing a small part in supporting the rights of producers of these products. Wearing Fair Trade clothing makes a subtle statement in this regard, and takes a stand against unethical and illegal trade practices. These practices affect people all over the world and from all walks of life. Making informed decisions as a consumer is a choice to not support companies that operate with unethical practices. This is a process that anyone can become involved with, as long as they take the time to do diligent research, to empower their decisions.


By Sheryl Perkins

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