LK recently attended the 3rd annual Fair Trade Fashion Show Fundraiser – which although being the most amazing visual feast, was also an unbelievably emotional experience. With its purpose being to benefit the Free The Slaves organization, the event, while furnishing all the glitz and glamour you might expect, also provided the most incredible insight into the harsh realities of the garment industry.
Hosting an hour long expert panel on the topic, the connection between fast fashion and its contribution to modern-day slavery was discussed at length. Being an overall $150 billion industry which affects an estimated 21 million people in the world today, these figures are just beyond shocking. But this need not be the case, and we can help slowly diminish this deplorable practice with our ongoing support of Fair Trade certified products.
In doing so, we are not only endeavouring to create a more just world, but we are also opening the door to some of the most unique products and non “cookie-cutter” styles ever seen!
Here are some of the awesome vendors which showcased..
5 Ethical Fashion Companies Stamping Out Modern Day Slavery
1. Bead & Reel
First up is actually the hosts of the Fair Trade Fashion Show, Bead & Reel. Founded in 2014 by the remarkable Sica Schmitz, this boutique is of the belief that “fashion and ethics aren’t mutually exclusive.”
The company offers a full range of women’s clothing, shoes, and accessories from over 60 independent sustainable designers, with everything sourced for sale being both eco-friendly and cruelty-free. This criteria is paramount, with consideration for animals, people, and the planet, being the store’s main focus. Being 100% vegan, this mindfully curated selection of goods is well worth checking out!
2. Malia Designs
Malia Designs is a truly wonderful organization that aims to “increase economic opportunity for women in Cambodia and to support organizations that fight human trafficking in Southeast Asia.” Founded by entrepreneurs Lia Valerio and Maria Forres Opdycke after they both visited the region in the early 2000’s, the horrors their travel’s revealed led to the company’s creation.
Bridging the gap between the producers in the developing world and the Western market, the sale of these crafts provides disadvantaged women in the region with the means of earning an alternative income. In lessening their vulnerability to prostitution and trafficking, this not only transforms their own lives, but also the lives of their children in turn. Offering an amazing selection of the most unique bags and accessories, grab yourself a coffee and get browsing!
3. International Sanctuary
With their motto “hope, dignity, freedom,” this is exactly what International Sanctuary provides in their rehabilitation of girls and young women who have been rescued from human trafficking both in India, and the U.S. Working with victims as young as 5 years old, the organization works to empower those who have been exploited through education, in addition to essential job training.
With the ability to earn an income through their handcrafting of Purpose Jewelry (the company’s product), survivors learn the skills they need to “sustain themselves and pursue better futures filled with tangible options.” In turn, the sale of these exquisite pieces generates the funds needed to keep this life-saving program going…so all the more reason click that “Add To Cart” button!
Another remarkable agency, rHope’s incredible handbags, made by women living in the slums of India, are sold with a view to helping these artisans raise their overall standard of living. This vital income, in economically empowering both them, and their families, in essence works to break the cycle of poverty in which they are entrenched. rHope thus encourages consumers to go the Fair Trade route, and you can support their livelihoods through the purchase of these beautifully handcrafted goods. There’s something to suit everyone’s tastes here, so pop on over and have a nosy!
5. Hfs Collective
Last, but definitely not least – more gorgeous bags! These amazing “handsfree” pieces, the brainchild of mother-daughter team, Debra and Rachel Denniston, are actually made right here in Los Angeles. Crafted in a small family-run factory, their super neat belt-bags are designed with only the welfare of both their employees, and the planet, in mind. Providing fair, living, wages in a safe, healthy, environment, they are also highly committed to sustainability in their sourcing of “only the most innovative, animal and earth-friendly materials” available – which essentially means no leather, skins, fur or PVC. To boot, they also donate 2% of the price of each bag sold to organizations which empower women and protect the earth…WHOOP!
So, as you can see, there’s no shortage of incredible alternatives available. And, with tons of vegan options out there these days – the quality and quantity of which are thankfully on the rise– there’s plenty to choose from when the need for that next retail therapy session hits.
Small changes make a big difference, and when you realize how impactful every purchase actually is, we can absolutely change the world with a more conscientiously kitted out wardrobe!