Why Passion Lilie Is Committed to Paying Living Wages as a Fair Trade Brand

Woman garment worker handcrafts block-printed clothing

As we soon approach the ninth anniversary of the tragic events at Rana Plaza, where more than 1,100 garment workers’ lives were lost, the fight to protect garment workers continues.

Joining Fashion Revolution, Passion Lilie advocates for fair living wages, safe and healthy working conditions, and clear pathways out of poverty for garment workers.

We’re committed to transparency and action for garment workers’ rights — that’s why every garment we produce is certified fair trade.

But you might be wondering, “what exactly is fair trade?” and, “what sort of outcomes does it produce for garment workers?”

Read on to learn how your fair trade purchase supports garment workers and creates optimal conditions for individuals to rise out of poverty.

What Is Fair Trade?

Buying fair trade means garments are produced through a reciprocal, mutually beneficial system. Built on a foundation of long-term community building, human dignity, and respect, decision-making power is shared between a business and its garment workers.

Through fair trade, you know you’re supporting an intentional, holistic, and human-centered movement and approach to crafting apparel.

In order to be certified fair trade, a brand has to:

  • have undergone rigorous inspections of its production facilities
  • meet strict standards for safe working conditions for garment workers
  • maintain transparency through regular audits

These inspections are typically conducted by an independent, third-party fair trade association.

As a member of the Fair Trade Federation, that makes us a brand you can trust.

Passion Lilie’s mark of certification reflects our unwavering pledge to honest and transparent production, building sustainable relationships grounded in trust, and nurturing equity to produce tangible outcomes for our makers.

Here are just a few of the many reasons why buying fair trade is important to help further the lives of garment workers.

Traditional fair trade block printed fabrics

How Buying Organic and Fair Trade Apparel Supports Garment Workers

When you choose to buy fair trade fashion, you not only help ensure that garment workers are paid a living wage but that they craft on a small scale in a safe environment where labor laws are enforced. Fair trade prioritizes the overall health of garment workers over profit margins with the goal to build stronger communities.

Fair trade is in staunch opposition to the free trade market that creates trade policies that allow fashion brands to exploit some of the most vulnerable members of society. It rejects any views of garment workers as only tools of production.

By opting for fair trade fashion, here’s what you help make possible for garment workers.

1. Garment Workers Are Paid a Living Wage vs Minimum Wage

    Your fair trade purchase certifies that garment workers are paid a living wage, not just minimum wage.

    Many major fast fashion brands pay their garment workers far below minimum wage or refuse to pay their workers at all, resulting in over $11.85 billion USD in wage theft.

    Garment workers globally often report being unable to pay for food, secure housing, healthcare, education, and other basic necessities.

    With an increasing cost of living worldwide and stagnant low wages, it’s clear that brands are not doing enough by promising to pay garment workers minimum wage. In production-heavy countries like India, we’re witnessing at least a 42% gap between the current minimum wage and the living wage necessary to meet one’s needs.

    Your investment in fair trade pieces allows artisans and crafters to earn a living wage and the financial empowerment to support themselves and their families.

    That’s why Passion Lilie partners with several small producer groups in India who are dedicated to paying fair living wages and providing benefits such as health insurance, sick leave, and paid holidays.

    2. Support of Women and Girls

    With over 40 million garment workers worldwide, at least 80% of those workers are women. In factories, women have reported a gender pay gap on top of already abysmally low wages, sexual harassment from managers and owners of the factory, most of whom are men, and stark power imbalances at work and at home that create an unsafe environment for women.

    In addition to an average 60-hour work week, women are often expected to manage household responsibilities, childcare, or be the breadwinner for their families. With exploitative pay and wage theft being common in the garment industry, these women have no means of significantly changing their living situations and getting out of poverty.

    It’s apparent that women garment workers face substantial barriers to financial freedom.

    At Passion Lilie, we believe true sustainability goes beyond paying fair wages but creating direct and lasting pathways out of poverty for our garment workers.

    As a part of our social impact initiatives, we offer salaried job training for women in India. This allows them to acquire the skills needed to rise to the higher-paying position of a tailor, cultivating sustainable change in women’s lives.

    Put on pause due to the pandemic, we hope to relaunch our training program in Spring 2022 and continue providing women with the means to support themselves and their families.

    Woman garment worker in India hand weaves fair trade fabric

    3. Protection of the Environment

    We know that climate change disproportionately affects countries in the Global South, the majority of which are major garment-producing hubs. Being fair trade certifies that our brand produces in an environmentally conscious way and our products are not harmful to the environment.

    Each Passion Lilie garment is made from organic and natural fibers, as we recognize the negative impacts of pesticides on the environment.

    Our timeless pieces are never mass-produced in a factory by machines but are handcrafted in a slow and careful process. Each garment is thoughtfully designed in New Orleans and hand weaved and block printed with nontoxic dyes by our small teams of producers in India.

    Driven by a reciprocal ethos, our long-term commitment to sustainability extends beyond natural products. Going back to our promise to pay fair wages, a living wage actually not only benefits garment workers directly but the world at large.

    One of the best solutions to alleviate fashion’s negative impact on the environment and combat climate change is to pay garment workers a living wage. Based on research from Roland Geyer, paying garment workers globally a living wage would immediately cut 65.3 million metric tons of CO2 from the economy.

    With fair wages and relationship-building at our core, Passion Lilie is proud to be fair trade, as it is one path forward to a more transparent and honest form of sustainability.

    As a consumer, there are many ways you can continue to support garment workers and protect the environment.

    Here are a few impactful steps you can take to empower garment workers today.

    Action Steps to Support Garment Workers

    Education and Advocacy

    Every April you can participate in Fashion Revolution Week, a global event that occurs in remembrance of the lives tragically lost at Rana Plaza in 2013. The event serves as a call to action and provides resources to advocate for garment workers’ rights, their financial empowerment, and true sustainability.

    Fashion Revolution Week will be held from April 18-24 this year where you can join in on educational panels worldwide and find local fashion workshops happening near you.

    With the theme for 2022 being, “MONEY FASHION POWER”, Fashion Revolution Week is a rallying cry for global consumers to align their money with their values and join the movement.

    Choose to Buy From Fair Trade Fashion Brands

    Overconsumption can never be sustainable, even if the products you buy are marketed as ethical and eco-friendly. When you do decide to shop, buy intentionally.

    Invest in high-quality pieces from transparent, fair trade brands that prioritize their garment workers. Pay more for your clothes, so you’re fairly compensating makers for their artistry, expertise, and time.

    Interested in purchasing from Passion Lilie? You can browse our considered collections here.

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