Navigating The Nuances Of Fair Trade

by Drishti Mistry

October being the fair-trade month – as declared by WFTO- we take a deeper delve into the intricacies of this terribly important yet fairly nebulous concept. While sustainability is the watchword on the minds of most fashion stalwarts, it is imperative to understand that without adopting fair trade practices the objective is only half achieved. Sustainability is the larger umbrella under which fair trade lies where the employers ought to adhere to at least one of the ten principles of fair trade. Some of those being opportunities for disadvantaged producers, transparency and accountancy, fair payment, no child labour, no discrimination, sanitary working conditions and respect for the environment. Introspecting this concept further, here’s how some of our designers are leading the conversation.

“Abraham & Thakore has always worked with traditional crafts – people who work in a very sustainable way – supported their traditional crafts, introduced new designs to them and made them a part of our design vocabulary and everything that we do.”

– David Abraham, Abraham & Thakore

“We, at Mati believe in fair trade, fair wages to the workers and a good working environment. We also provide educational fees for the girls who are working with us. We not only believe in sustainable fashion, we believe in sustainable living.”

– Fatima K Punjaabi, Mati

“We strongly support fair trade practices by ensuring adequate pay to more than 300 women artisans working on aari and mirror embroideries based in Kutch and Saurashtra region of Gujarat. These women artisans are being able to contribute to their family income, can send their kids to schools and manage their household chores. Our label supports the sustenance of their art and provides them better livelihood.”

– Purvi Doshi, Purvi Doshi

“The onset of power loom ended up adversely affecting the weaver families and to a great extend deskill them. Warp ‘n Weft since 1997 has been working tirelessly to overcome these challenges, encourage the artisans and their families, and empower them by redefining and revisiting handloom Banarasi.

We have set up the Warp ’n Weft weavers fund which is seeded from part of our sales proceeds. This is initiated and designed to honour our senior master craftsmen who have been the soul of the brand for over two decades and are now towards the retirement age. The scope of this fund would be expanded to medical exigencies and even education grants for the weavers’ deserving children.

While many companies and brands use handlooms as their claim to fame, Warp ‘n Weft follows the principle of ethical production and fair trade to preserve the heritage and the skills of our craftsmen. We at Warp ‘n Weft give a fair share to our weavers, to credit them for the labour of love and at the same time take the legacy forward to our customers at an affordable price. This goes a long way to promote handloom.

– Sagrika Rai, Warp ‘n Weft

“We promote fair trade practices, we ensure fair payments and good working conditions to our entire team at Urvashi Kaur as well as all the artisans and craftsmen that we work with.”

– Urvashi Kaur, Urvashi Kaur.

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