Taos, New Mexico has a well deserved reputation as a free spirited creative community. Last weekend they blocked off streets and created a runway for the 'Glam Trash Fashion Show', a community celebration of wearable art and 'trashion' (trash fashion). My friend in Taos, Sara Basehart, sent me an email today with this cool video of the event, take a look!
Sara has a shop in Taos called Seconds Eco Store. Seconds is our most unique customer: they're a retailer of Escama bags AND they're our un-official repair shop! Missing a zipper? Got a loose thread? Sara and her friends at Seconds Eco have helped us refurbish numerous damaged bags. (Sara is actually in the video, "I'm the one with the horns and the swagger")
If you're looking for ideas for your next 'trashion' creation? Click on the video below. You can also see photos of the event on the Glam Trash Facebook page.
Ethical Fashion, slow fashion and sustainable fashion are trends that are increasingly visible in shows like NYNOW. And overseas artisan enterprises are gaining visibility. And there were more options for sourcing fair trade products than ever. Options for buying fair trade products include: from US-based Fair Trade Federation members, from non-US-based designers and exporters (such as the Mayan Store), and from artisan enterprises such as Sidai Designs sponsored under the Artisan Resource section.
There was a strong showing of Fair Trade Federation members in the Global Handmade section and for the first time there was a fair trade product display on the ground floor to drive traffic to Fair Trade Federation companies. In addition to FTF members and other traditional fair trade importers from the US, there were numerous exporter / designers from the developing world scattered throughout the show. This August 2015 show saw a much larger contingent of artisan enterprises exhibiting from abroad under the Artisan Resource section. This array of options reflects the increasing accessibility of products from the developing world and the growing ability of artisan enterprises to represent themselves at international trade shows.
Does the increase of fair trade exhibitors reflect a growth in demand for globally sourced handmade products? I assume the answer is yes. Overall trends in the gift and fashion markets make for a welcoming environment for fair trade handicrafts from the developing world. For example, 'Boho chic' is a popular style that can be seen not only in clothing, jewelry, bags, but also in home decor and tabletop. That's great news for artisans in South America, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East who fit into this genre. Also, the trend towards handmade / small batch products by US makers is giving global producers of artisan handmade products a terrific opportunity to be included in the mix.
Generally speaking, professional gift industry buyers rarely ask outright if a product is 'Fair Trade'. (Unfortunately we're not quite there yet). But the origin and authenticity of a product is paramount. Everyone is on the look out for truly hot products that are on-trend and have a great back story. If the holy grail is a product that is handmade, using traditional techniques, is ethically sourced and comes in at the right price point, then fair trade products can deliver something that is unique and a great value to retailers.
Consumers are becoming more aware of the true cost of fast fashion. Hopefully this film will bring this topic to the attention of more people. Behind the beautiful photography of many fashion brands is often a supply chain that relies on factories with deplorable working conditions. The disconnect between the brand image and the heart breaking reality in overseas factories is the subject of the film The True Cost. See it if you can!
October is Fair Trade Month, it's a great time to learn how YOU (and me and everybody) can make the world a better place just by making better choices in the way that we buy things. Throughout the month of October Escama Studio will post some easily digestible tidbits about Fair Trade so that we can all learn together.
So let's start with some treats. Halloween is coming up. If you're stocking up for trick-or-treaters you can make a huge impact by buying Fair Trade chocolate. Our friends at Fair Trade Winds have 5 excellent reasons why it's much better to buy Fair Trade chocolate!
Equal Exchange makes 'Mini's' in Milk and Dark Chocolate
Newman's Own is widely available with chocolates, licorice and other treats
Divine Dark Chocolate
Glee Gum and Glee Pops are individually packaged for Halloween
Mama Ganache has organic Fair Trade chocolate skulls & trick or treat packs
We're scouting for more fair trade treats for Halloween. If you have any other ideas for individually packaged, cost effective Halloween treats we'd love to get your feedback! We are compiling a Pinterest board for Fair Trade Halloween and would love to show more treats. Thanks!