WORN: Fair Trade Fashion

Even though I do consider myself somewhat of a minimalist, with a capsule-ish wardrobe ('ish' because I don't switch out clothes season by season, but instead try to buy versatile pieces that can be worn in almost any season) I love fashion.  
So while my closet is minimal, it is filled with items I love and wear regularly. I tend to be conservative with trends, wearing mostly basics, then dressing outfits up through accessories.
And this, my friends, is where fair trade products come in.
I love the way a statement necklace or beautifully patterned scarf can add interest and texture to an outfit. A tee shirt and comfy pair of jeans can be taken from boring to classy simply by adding one of those two options.
Accessories tend to lend themselves well to causal or dressy outfits, so I find that I get a lot of use out of all of the items I own. This really is the whole point of a capsule wardrobe.
The pieces are unique; they are great conversation starters. I've gotten stopped many times by complete strangers while out running errands, asking where I got my beautiful bag or necklace or earrings.
But even more than the gorgeous items, I love the stories of hope and redemption found for so many through fair trade. You see, fair trade means that the artisans who work tirelessly to create these products are earning a living wage. It means that parents can afford to send their children to school, dressed in crisp uniforms with bellies full. It means that instead of selling her body, the girl on the streets of Cambodia might have another option, one that is dignified, one she can be proud of. Fair trade is about women empowering women. (Men, you all are able to get in on this too, I just liked the way that line sounded.) Instead of handouts and charity, you are enabling someone somewhere to earn a living and feel accomplished and good about what they do through your purchase. In a way when you buy and wear fair traded items you are spreading the Gospel, and you look good doing it!
To me, it is completely worth the extra cost. Sure, you might be paying a bit more for a necklace than you would for one at say, H+M or Old Navy, but if you would research those companies (and, unfortunately, many others) a bit, it wouldn't take you long to realize that there really is a high cost to cheap fashion.  Fair trade isn't necessarily cheap, but in the grand scheme of things it is priceless.
You've probably figured this out by now, but I am passionate about fair trade and the ethical treatment of others. This is why I was so excited to team up with Fair Trade Friday, a ministry of Mercy House Kenya, for the summer, and share with everyone about their mission and ministry. 
There will be more posts similar to this one over the course of June and July. I will share about a few of my favorite organizations and ways that you can get involved... AND I will be hosting a giveaway for a gorgeous tote made from handwoven and hand-printed canvas and genuine leather, crafted in the foothills of the Himalayas. So stay tuned, you don't want to miss it!
Now it's your turn to share: What are some ways you like to make a difference in the lives of others? Or how has someone made a difference in your life?


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