"It isn't enough just looking for quality in the products we buy, we must ensure that there is quality in the lives of the people who make them."
Who made my clothes?
Three of the main ethical clothing brands we stock at The Fair Trader are Cloth & Co, Torju, and La Sierra Alpaca. Read on to learn about the people behind the products.
- Made by a small women's stitching unit in Southern India in a SA8000 production facility, which ensures workers' rights and environmental protection
- Made from GOTS (organic) certified cotton from Fairtrade Indian farms. To receive the GOTS certification, the product must meet specific environmental and social criteria. Learn more about the criteria that must be met for GOTS certification here
- Cloth and Co. pays fair wages and ensures no child labor takes place. They support workers' rights and gender equality
- Designed in Australia
- Made ethically in India
- Made from GOTS (organic) certified cotton from India. To receive the GOTS certification, the product must meet specific environmental and social criteria. Learn more about the criteria that must be met for GOTS certification here
- Torju ensures fair wages and that no child labor is used. They supports workers' rights and gender equality
- Designed in coastal Victoria, Australia
- Made by artisans in two regions of South America, the Quechua indigenous people from the Andes Mountains of Northern Ecuador, and the Aymara indigenous people from the Lake Titicaca District in Southern Peru
- La Sierra follows Fair Trade practices, paying artisans a fair and sustainable wage which enables families to send their children to school and access healthcare
- Made from alpaca wool
- La Sierra helps preserve traditional Andean culture and skills through supporting South American alpaca farmers and local spinners, weavers and knitters
What are my clothes made of?
Image Courtesy of BiorE India
Most of the cotton used to make clothing in the fashion industry is conventional cotton, which relies heavily on the use of harmful chemicals such as herbicides, pesticides and synthetic fertilizers. The overuse of such chemicals and their impact on the environment and people's health is concerning. Pesticide and fertilizer use on cotton has been linked to ground and surface water contamination, and drinking water pollution. At high enough levels in drinking water, nitrates from nitrogen fertilizer are known to cause methemoglobinemia, or "blue baby syndrome," in babies. According to the US National Academy of Sciences, the DDT metabolite DDE, which is used as a pesticide, causes eggshell thinning and that the bald eagle population in the United States declined primarily because of exposure to these chemicals (Liroff, 2000).
Organic cotton is different and far more sustainable because it uses natural growing systems to grow crops, rather than relying on the use of chemicals. While conventional cotton farmers are reacting to ecological problems that have been caused by Western farming practices, organic farmers work with the earth to prevent environmental issues before they occur.
Alpacas have minimal impact on their environment and are one of the most eco-friendly animals on the planet. They are fuel-efficient and don't produce much methane due to their three-part stomach. Their faeces are pH neutral.
They prefer to eat native grasses, so they don't usually eat or destroy trees. They nibble grass above the ground instead of pulling up the roots.
Alpacas have padded feet, unlike sheep and cattle who have hooves, so they leave even the most delicate terrain undamaged.
An alpaca produces enough fleece each year to create many soft, warm jumpers. So there you have it - the humble alpaca brings us slow fashion at its most sustainable and coziest!