What do you consider the most pressing problems in the world today? You might say the environment. As the demand for freshwater increases in the United States, we face potential price increases, water shortages for our wildlife, and many other consequences. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, one-third of American households struggled with their energy needs in 2015. We have also steadily generated more and more waste over the years, filling our landfills, not to mention a whole host of other environmental problems faced by the U.S. and the rest of the world.
While the Earth is suffering, so are many of its people. Health inequity and wealth inequality abound, both in the United States and throughout the globe. The World Health Organization reports that the average life expectancy is just 62 years in low-income countries, while it’s 81 years in high-income countries. Meanwhile, the richest 1% of the global population owns 45% of all the wealth in the world, while many others remain impoverished and struggle to improve conditions for themselves, their families, or their communities.
No matter what you think the world’s biggest issues are, you are unlikely to think of fashion as either a problem or a solution. Yet ethical, sustainable clothing can actually help address many of these issues in ways you may not expect. Even better, clothing is something that everyone needs and uses, making it an extremely accessible avenue for the average person to affect change.
In the United States, we spend over $350 billion shopping every day. That’s more money than our entire country gives to charity over the course of a year! Imagine all the ways we could change the world if we spent more of that money shopping for goods and services that give back. As an ethical, sustainable clothing company, we’re here to tell you how buying ethical clothing online or in stores can make a positive impact on the world around us.
Simply put, ethical fashion is fashion made ethically. This can encompass a whole host of business and production practices aimed at treating your workers fairly and minimizing your impact on the environment. In short, ethical fashion means your clothing is eco-friendly and people-friendly.
So what does ethical fashion mean in terms of fair trade? Fair trade is a global movement to promote trade that is equal, just, and empowering. When you buy fair trade clothing, you know that your clothes were not made using unethical practices, such as sweatshop labor or child labor.
Fair trade focuses on creating dignified and empowering employment for workers in underserved areas. Typically this means working with people in developing countries, but it can also mean providing jobs for underserved communities right here in the United States.
These are just a few of the characteristics of jobs supported by the Fair Trade Movement:
— Workers receive long-term employment opportunities.
— Working relationships are built on transparency, trust, and respect.
— Workers receive fair wages, and men and women are paid equally.
— Workers are provided with safe and healthy working conditions.
— Workers have free speech and can voice their opinions.
— Workers are protected from prejudice, discrimination, and abuse, including sexism, racism, sexual harassment, and more.
— Workers have access to healthcare and time off.
— Workers can improve their skills through further education, job training, and other opportunities.
— Workers have access to financial assistance to help them gain independence and escape poverty.
— Workers’ opinions are valued, and workers can participate in workplace decisions.
— Workers are genuinely happy and comfortable at their jobs.
By buying fair trade, ethical clothing online or in stores, you can support positive, uplifting, and ethical working conditions around the world. Take a look at our top 7 reasons you should buy fair trade clothing for even more great benefits!
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<p>Seven Reasons You Should Buy Fair-Trade Clothing - An infographic by <a href="https://passionlilie.com">Passion Lilie</a></p>
In addition to treating workers fairly, ethical fashion is based on sustainability. This means prioritizing environmentally friendly practices throughout production and making a product that has a lower impact on the environment.
What does ethical fashion mean for sustainability?
— Clothing is made from eco-friendly materials, such as organic, pesticide-free, non-GMO cotton.
— Clothing is safe for people and the environment, avoiding any materials that contain carcinogens, toxins, or other harmful chemicals.
— Clothing is made through sustainable practices that reduce water consumption and waste production.
— Clothing is made using natural energy and avoiding pollution.
While ethical fashion may not solve all of our problems with unsafe chemicals, water shortages, energy consumption, or overflowing landfills, it allows you to reduce your impact on the environment and invest in safer, more sustainable practices.
At Passion Lilie, we believe ethical, sustainable clothing can make a difference. By using fair trade and sustainable practices, we can improve the lives of our artisans and help the environment while delivering a better product to our customers.
The tenets of fair trade are all fine and well, but at the end of the day, they’re just ideas—until they’re put into action. So how has our fair trade company made a real difference?
To start, the teams we work with receive an above average salary, free job training, 24 days of sick leave, 11 government paid holidays, help obtaining health insurance, and financial advising. Our founder, Katie Schmidt, visits them in India to form better relationships with our artisans and ensure they are happy with their jobs. She has seen firsthand how they work together and bond with one another in a positive, dignified workplace, and many say that this is the best part of the job.
One of our artisans, Lydia, rose to the rank of production manager after receiving free job training. She has also used this opportunity to return to school and finish her secondary education, a diploma in Fashion Designing & Merchandising, and a diploma in Business Entrepreneurship.
Padmini, who runs her own block printing workshop and has partnered with Passion Lilie for the past several years, has also partnered with the State Government Women’s Welfare Board to offer free job training to underprivileged women in India, allowing her to help many others.
Banu, their expert color mixer, was hired through this program almost 24 years ago. She had no education and was a homemaker. Today she mentors others on the team and handles production coordination.
These types of success stories abound among our team and show how our fair trade company can make an actual difference in the lives of others and create a ripple effect that improves entire communities.
At Passion Lilie, we have established a sustainable business from the very start, allowing us to minimize our environmental footprint. But we never stop learning, and to this day we are still on the lookout for even more ways to improve our processes and make a more eco-friendly product.
We source local materials, using 100% Indian cotton, and more recently made the switch to only using organic cotton. We also make sure our dyes are azo-free and free from any carcinogens, toxins, or other harmful chemicals.
In addition, we use natural energy while reducing our water consumption and waste production. Our artisans wash our fabrics by hand in local waterways and dry them in the sun to reduce energy usage. We also use leftover fabric to make accessories and other handicrafts, minimizing the amount of waste we produce.
As more and more of us work to reduce our environmental footprint, the greater our collective impact will be! Take the first step by investing in sustainability when you can, starting with shopping at ethical, sustainable clothing stores like Passion Lilie.
Ready to make a global impact while still looking fashionable? Shop ethical clothing online today from Passion Lilie.