When is Clothing Fairtrade?

fairtrade clothing, sustainable fashion, support socially useful activities, creating schools, improving the standard of living in entire rural communities, creating information campaigns, spreading messages that reach the ears of industrialized countries

Today we are talking about a very important topic closely related to sustainable fashion: fairtrade clothing. We will answer the most frequently asked questions, but if after reading the article you still have questions, please contact us and we will be happy to answer your questions.

What is Fairtrade Clothing?

A sustainable choice? A marketing gimmick? We can define fairtrade clothing as a facet of sustainable fashion, but certainly not the only one. Sustainable fashion has evolved rapidly in recent years and today we can distinguish it through product labels.

Buying fairtrade clothing can really make a difference to the future of the entire human race. Reducing the social impact of textile production - one of the worst industries when it comes to exploitation, child labour, discrimination - is a concrete and easily achievable goal, but only if we all put a little effort into spreading the right information.

It seems as if there is little difference to ethical clothing, but actually the small differences between fairtrade and ethical are important. While ethical clothing focuses on social responsibility aspects such as discrimination, child labour, exploitation, standard working hours, health insurance, etc. - in short - "normal and decent" work, fairtrade clothing goes one step further.

Profit made from the sale of the products goes to support socially useful activities, such as creating schools, improving the standard of living in entire rural communities, creating information campaigns, and spreading messages that reach the ears of industrialized countries. It is certainly no small thing. So while being very similar to ethical clothing, fairtrade clothing has an extra advantage in that it helps reduce social problems and at the same time creates actions that can bring rural communities a better sense of well-being.

Pinpointing a fairtrade product is not always easy, but we at Slow Nature are here to help you understand the various labels. We also want to show you how to recognize the ecological fabric label: a small detail that you need to consider when talking about fairtrade clothing, as this concerns using materials of natural origin that often come from developing countries where agriculture is still the main source of income for millions of citizens.

It is also important to know that there are no fairtrade (or at least we have not seen) products made in Europe because clearly they are made in solidarity with developing countries where famine, hunger, water scarcity, are the order of the day.

When Can We Call Clothing "Fairtrade"?

Clothing is fairtrade when it has textile certifications guaranteeing it's production is socially responsible and ensures some of the profit will be used for community projects. There are several international labels that recognize this but the ones you will most often find are:

  • FairTrade
  • Fair Wear Foundation

Discover more about textile certifications

It is really important to recognise the difference between fairtrade and ethical clothing, but it is just as important to distinguish fairtrade clothing from eco-friendly clothing. By fairtrade we mean a product that respects the rights of workers and contributes to the economic development of small local economies. Although very often fairtrade and eco-friendly clothing share common goals, it cannot be taken for granted that they go hand in hand.

Distinguish is the watchword here. If we have a product certified as fairtrade, perhaps produced in South America, it would be ideal if that same product is also certified as eco-friendly with a low carbon footprint because natural fibres such as cotton, jute, hemp, linen, etc., used to the make fairtrade products will in most cases come from Asia or South America, places where environmental concerns are likely to be ignored in the absence of regulatory controls - exactly the kind textile certifications we are talking about.

This is why we usually prefer the label organic clothing, because it covers both values of social responsibility and environmental sustainability. However it does not contribute to community development like fairtrade clothing.

Fairtrade Clothing Online and In Store

Let's be honest, fairtrade clothing is still "rare" to find in high street shops, but it is certainly easier to find online. This article is to help you recognize the labels, and we hope it will be useful as you shop consciously.

We are certain, and we hope, that these types of products will soon be easily available in stores.

While we wait for fairtrade clothing to fill our stores, we advise buying products Made In Europe that offer more of a guarantee compared to those coming from developing countries. We also should take into account the "cost" factor as we all know (but often put to the back of our minds) that a €5/10 t-shirt cannot be made ethically, let alone fairtrade.

Why Fairtrade Clothing is Important

We believe that the answer to this question can be found in every line of this article: fairtrade clothing is important to safeguard workers in the textile production industry while supporting the social growth of small local communities and increasing their living conditions.

In the last twenty years there have been no positive developments in the textile manufacturing sector. In many countries the big multinationals continue to victimize, exploit, enslave, steal and pollute. Entire profits are made in the most developed countries - like ours - while over there where the bulk of the work is produced, workers do not even have enough money to eat.

We are all growing more aware today, but not all of us are able to change our shopping habits.

Would you like to buy fairtrade products? Slow Nature is the right place to come as we offer an exclusive fairtrade selection on our website.


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