What if your gift gave more? A fair trade gift is a gift of economic empowerment, a gift of education, a gift of environmental stewardship. A fair trade gift celebrates cultural diversity, it honors cultural heritage and revitalizes traditions. Gift thoughtfully.
Care. It’s what we want to express with our gifts. We give gifts to show our loved ones we care about them. We want the gifts we give to be thoughtful, hold meaning, and be selected with love and consideration. When we choose ethical and ecologically mindful companies for our gift giving needs, the “gift” extends far beyond the recipient. By choosing fair trade, you are lifting up the lives of people and communities around the globe, while obtaining a high-quality object, crafted with—you guessed it—care.
That handmade quilt from your grandmother. The antique pocket watch passed down through generations of family members. Handmade craftsmanship creates a different type of feel. More real. These objects are invaluable to us. They reflect the time and place they are from. They remind us of the people who put care into their creation. These objects are precious. Today, this type of craftsmanship is often forgone for faster production and lower cost. These practices come at the expense of not only the quality of the products, but also our health and our planet’s health. And sadly, more often than not, this leads to unsafe working conditions and unfair wages for the artisans. Fair trade means you don’t have to sacrifice anything. Fair trade demands higher standards for everyone involved and that makes all the difference.
As modern companies move away from ancient techniques, traditional practices are lost. Indigo Handloom is a company doing just the opposite. They recognize how ancient techniques are often time-honored traditions that reflect the culture and land of the native people. By reviving the skill of hand-spun yarn and combining it with handloom weaving, Indigo Handloom is preserving this beautiful art form, while empowering hundreds of weavers in rural India. Thanks to ethical and fair practices like these, artisans are able to better provide for themselves, allowing families to stay together and thrive with dignity. Profits from their work stay within their communities, thus creating a strong local economy, which leads to improved housing, healthcare, and education. Who would have thought a gorgeous handmade scarf can give so much?
Another downside to the current fashion industry is the amount of pollution it creates. From the pesticides used to grow cotton, to the toxic dyes washing into our waterways, the environmental impact will be felt for decades. Thankfully, some companies are showing us that the environmental cost of fashion doesn’t have to be so high. At Soko, they believe heritage practices can be employed sustainability. By using eco-friendly materials, such as recycled brass and reclaimed cow horn coupled with handmade techniques, they are able to produce high-quality contemporary designs while minimizing their environmental footprint. One look at these beautiful pieces of jewelry, and you’ll agree you don’t have to sacrifice great style when it comes to eco-friendly fashion.
At INDIGENOUS, we believe fashion can and must be a force for good. Fair trade and organic have been at the heart of our company for over 20 years, and by refusing to compromise these values, we have created a new path to stability to families in some of the poorest regions of South America, all while bringing you timeless sustainable fashion. From organic farmers to yarn spinners and artisan knitters, INDIGENOUS is committed to improving the lives of all involved in the making of our clothes. Through the purchase of a warm alpaca hat or handknit scarf, you are helping Peruvian women keep their country’s ancient tradition of textile design alive while they achieve new levels of economic empowerment. And you can rest assured knowing that organic cotton wrap will be as soft on your skin as it is on the earth thanks to our commitment to environmentally friendly practices. Our philosophy is simple: integrity and heart above all else.
If we want our gifts to be truly filled with love, that love should go all the way back to the origins of the product. It should be found in the materials it was crafted with, the techniques used to create it, and the artisans who poured their skill and love into every piece. After all, when it comes to gift giving, it is said that the thought is what counts. Let’s be truly thoughtful and choose gifts that hold meaning not only to you and the recipient, but also to the artisans who created them, the communities supporting them, and the world as a whole. Let’s give gifts that give back.
Written by Julie Benefield