Sunday, April 20, 2008

People Tree - Fair Trade Fashion

In the next few weeks I would like to share with you some of the inspirational designers I've discovered in the past few years. You will notice a common theme connecting them all, which is their interest in combining social responsibility with their businesses. These are values I respect a great deal, and I hope to some day make my mark in the world, while contributing to the economic livelihood of a community somewhere. (Most likely Mexico, because of my own personal connection to its people).

Safia Minney is an extraordinary visionary and pioneer in the world of Fair Trade Fashion. You may or may not have heard of her Fashion Company People Tree. It is based out of Japan (where she lives) and the UK (where most of her designers are located). The Mission Statement of People tree is "to use fashion as a tool to help the world's most marginalized people". Wow - what a great idea! It's so true that the world really doesn't need "another" new fashion label. So, why not at least make one with a good cause behind it?

People Tree works with 50 Fair Trade Groups in 15 different countries around the world to create beautiful clothing made of organic cotton, using fair trade practices and safe and natural dyes. The goal for the designers is to create fashion forward clothing using the MOST amount of labor possible! This goes completely against conventional thinking for mass produced clothing production. The designers for People Tree intentionally design hand techniques such as embroidery, beading or hand woven details into the garments so that more people will be needed to create the garments - thus giving more people a chance to earn money!

People Tree also offers internships to Fashion Students looking for work experience in the area of Fair Trade fashion. If such a thing had existed back when I was a design student I would have jumped at this opportunity!

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