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In developing nations, textiles and fashion merchandise manufacturing are relatively easy entry-level industries that create jobs, attract foreign investment and thus contribute to growth and development. However, this development and growth come at the expense of workers and local artisans. But can fashion be fair?

This is the question answered in a recent article in The Guardian (http://www.guardian.co.uk/sustainable-business/fashion-fair-trade-support-development-input?CMP=twt_gu).

A few interesting points raised in this article are:

  • Definitions: The variety of different meanings of “fair trade” to different brands (some view it as paying a fair price for products, some view it as a chance to provide opportunities to the poor such as working conditions, etc.)
  • Measurable Standards:The WFTO is WFTO Fair Trade Systemas anorganisational system compliance mechanism (Historically they have taken a peer-review approach to assessing how its members are doing against these principles)
  • Studies: Studies show that women engaged in fair trade networks tend to benefit more than those who are just receiving employment opportunities. These impacts go beyond financial improvements but allow them to improve their well-being and capabilities.
  • Fashion:Fair trade fashion allows contemporary designs to work with artisans from around the world to combine modern fashion with traditional designs and skills.
  • The Journey:The journey to a mass-market for fair trade fashion is a precarious one but very worthwhile