Sustainability is having a moment. With Everlane’s recent promise to eliminate all virgin plastic within its walls by 2021 and Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex herself, choosing to wear sustainable clothing designers while on tour in Australia, conscious consumerism is everywhere. But as people start paying attention to fashion's effect on the planet, Fair Trade USA is making sure ethical purchasing doesn’t stop at going green.
The nonprofit works to ensure that the farm and factory workers who produce the clothes we wear every single day are treated fairly. Since launching with coffee 20 years ago, the organization has helped generate more than $500 million in additional income for workers at over 1,300 brands worldwide. But there’s still more to be done, especially when it comes to ethical clothing brands.Maya Spaull, Fair Trade’s VP of Apparel and Home Goods, says she watched the clothing industry shift its mindset with the rise of conscious consumption. “Once we started to tell companies that there's a pair of hands, there's a woman, a mother, a sister, an aunt, who's making these clothes every day for you and that there's an opportunity to participate in something like Fair Trade to support better working conditions and also better pay via the Fair Trade premium, we really started to get some incredible hits,” Spaull says. “It's no longer acceptable to offer bad-quality products that have no sustainability story.”
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