Fairtrade is a term we’ve had knocking around for years. You might associate it with coffee, bananas, or chocolate – or maybe you’ve never heard it before.

So, you might be wondering, what is Fairtrade?

Fair-trade means that every person in the making of a product is paid a fair amount. That amount is correlated with the living wage of that place and above.

But wait, isn’t this how all clothes are made? Sadly not. The majority of our purchases fall under what is known as ‘Fast Fashion’.

What does fast fashion actually mean?

Fast fashion means people are exploited for cheap labour with long hours. Workers can work up to 16 hour days, 7 days a week in cramped, crumbling buildings. These are huge safety and fire hazards, leading to injuries, and even deaths, the most notable being the Rana Plaza collapse. Maternity leave is not common, so women are forced to take their children with them to work, which can lead to child exploitation. But despite these workers long, hard hours, they are in a constant struggle to make ends meet – the wage is so low below living standards.

@fash_rev on Insta

Fast fashion is part of the modern day consumerist boom, where we can now buy and experience more than they could a generation ago. This extends to almost every area of our lives, including technology, food, and travel. We own numerous tech gadgets, take multiple holidays and eat out more frequently – all at a lower and lower financial cost. The cost to the people and our planet, however, is all too apparent with the rise of climate change.

@fash_rev on Instagram

So, here are five key reasons to choose ethical and Fairtrade

1. Better Working Conditions!

Companies who care about their staff provide better factories to work in, allowing regular breaks, less working hours and access to health care. Some also allow their garment workers to work from home, which means women who perhaps have young children can care for them. Having a safe environment creates space for professional and personal growth for employers and employees.

2. Better Quality

2. The quality of fairtrade items are MUCH higher quality than those in fast fashion. Meaning they will be made of better quality materials, and therefore last much longer.

3. Not Mass-Produced
3. Ethically made products are not mass produced, so you are gaining an item that is unique and made with a lot of love.

4. Empowering People + Communities
4. What and where you spend your money is part of your power to create change in the world. By spending it on Fairtrade items, you are contributing to a better life for those living in poverty or exploited communities. When you buy Fairtrade you know that the people who made your item have earned a living wage for their hard work.

5. Considered Purchases
5. Just stop and think, would you buy something unethical, if you really thought about the consequences? By buying fast, unethical fashion, you are funding unfair labour, dangerous work conditions, child slavery, and the exploitation of women. Cheap clothes for you, means the price is paid by someone else. Fairtrade items can cost more to buy, but this means you’ll think about whether you need it and how much you’ll use it.

Here at Adorned, we take into account the numerous workers that together create each piece, and only work with companies that pay fairly. Some of our pieces are BAFTS certified (British Association of Fair Trade), whilst others are from small, often family-run businesses like us!Our ethical journey is a continually developing journey. We still wish to find out more about fabric production and source more recycled materials. We are also working on sourcing more ethically produced jewellery findings (though still opt for recycled when we can!)

We are forever committed to looking after those who make our clothes,

The Adorned team,
Written by Aimee & Sarah

@fairtradeau on Insta

Want more? Some of our fave bad-ass ethical bloggers & podcasts

Fashion Fix Podcast with Charli Howard
Lucy Siegle, environmental fashion write at the Guardian
Kristen Leo, ethical fashion blogger
Serena Lee, ethical blogger
Fashion Revolution, demanding to know ‘Who made our clothes?’