Fair Trade Fashion

So far, the adoption process has changed me in so many ways. It has caused me to be more intentional with my son, knowing that it's a blessing to have the ability to raise him. It has caused me to be less of a complainer, knowing that I am absolutely not in want or need of anything. It has caused me to be thankful for the country that we live in, knowing that in other countries the political unrest is terrifying. It has also caused me to be conscious of the items I buy, investigating how they were manufactured, who they were manufactured by, and what the conditions that they were manufactured under are like.

You might've heard the words "fair trade" thrown around from time to time in regards to products or businesses and had no idea what it meant. I used to be one of those people. In searching the internet, you won't find one, universal definition; however, this definition by FINE (found here) is most commonly referred to -- 
Fair trade is a trading partnership, based on dialogue, transparency, and respect, that seeks greater equity in international trade. It contributes to sustainable development by offering better trading conditions to, and securing the rights of, marginalized producers and workers - especially in the South. Fair trade organizations (backed by consumers) are engaged actively in supporting producers, awareness raising, and campaigning for changes in the rules and practice of conventional international trade.
Not specifically mentioned in the FINE definition of fair trade, but something that I have often noticed is that most fair trade businesses use portions of their profits for charity. Don't you love that?

In my growing consciousness of fair trade through the adoption process I have found myself investigating some of my favorite brands and their practices...honestly, it's been really sad -- but that's another post for another day; for now we'll just say that it isn't something I'm proud to be supporting or proud to be wearing. On a more positive note though, I've also been finding new companies that follow fair trade practices. And starting today, I'll be sharing those new companies (as I find them and purchase from them) with you through a series called "Fair Trade Fashion."

The first company that I'll be sharing with you is Purse and Clutch. Based in Austin, Texas, P&C is a young company run by Jen Lewis. P&C purchases from wholesale companies who have a vision of connecting the poor of a specific region to the Western markets. Purse and Clutch currently carries products from Uganda, Northern India, rural villages in India, Cambodia, and Nicaragua. If you'd like to read more about P&C's products and standards you can check them out here

My first purchase from P&C was their Convertible Bucket Bag in a hand-loomed herringbone fabric. It's woven by skilled weavers in Uganda using locally-sourced cotton yarns and then sewn together by Gulu tailors. The leather straps are made from remnants in an artisan shoe workshop.

I love that the bag has the ability to be worn cross-body (my favorite way) with the long, removable strap OR over the shoulder with the two shorter straps. The size is perfect having plenty of room for all of my things and space to toss in a diaper, a portable container of wipes, and a little snack for Gunner.  

Even more exciting is that fact that I am now an affiliate blogger for P&C (I did actually purchase this bag though, just an FYI) and I am so excited to continue spreading the word about this company and what they stand for. 

As an affiliate I receive 10% of all sales that come through my site. So that means if you click and purchase an item through any of the P&C links in this post OR through the square banner (it says "handmade and fair wage") on the right hand side of my blog, I will receive a portion of your purchase. 

From now until we bring our son home from Africa, 100% of the funds I bring in through this affiliate program will go towards our adoption process. When buying from P&C, you are not only helping men and women of poor regions make a living, you are also helping bring home our son! 

I'd love for you to check out P&C and help support artisans in other areas of the world. Let me know if you purchase anything! I'd love to know what you decide on. 

If you're a fair trade business that is interested in being featured in next month's "Fair Trade Fashion" post, please email me! I'd love to highlight you.

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