Fair Trade USA Launches First Ethical Fashion Certification Label

Fair Trade Certified Fashion Items Available from Pioneering Brands; Alternative to Sweatshops in Clothing Supply Chain
Dec 1, 2010 11:55 AM ET

(3BLMedia/theCSRfeed) OAKLAND, CALIF. - December 1, 2010 - Plenty of fashion brands call themselves fair, but a label that ensures fairness from the cotton field to your hanger hasn’t been on the shelves…until now. Just in time for the holidays, Fair Trade USA (formerly TransFair USA), the leading third-party certifier of Fair Trade products in the United States, announces that a full range of Fair Trade Certified™ clothing items are now available in the United States as part of a two-year pilot test.
This isn’t hippie fashion. Fair Trade is runway ready with great looks like celebrity-designed Fair Trade Certified™ graphic tees by Project Runway’s Korto Momolu and the up-and-coming fashion house Bacca da Silva from Liberty & Justice, boxers and luscious 100 percent organic women’s undies from newcomer Good & Fair, and tees from sustainability pioneer PrAna.

“Maybe you’ve already had a green makeover, but ethical fashion is about more than just protecting the environment. It’s about people, and ‘fair’ is just a knock-off without third-party certification to deliver the proof,” said Heather Franzese, Senior Manager of Apparel and Linens. “With the Fair Trade Certified™ label, consumers can now be confident that cotton farmers and factory workers earn more and have safe working conditions, the environment was protected, and the people who made the high-quality product can look forward to brighter futures.”

The following sustainable fashions are ready for the holiday season from pioneering brands working with best-in-class Fair Trade manufacturing facilities and cooperatives in Costa Rica, India and Liberia:

  • Liberty & Justice (San Francisco) is made by the Liberian Women’s Sewing Project, which creates sustainable jobs for women’s sewing cooperatives and provides workforce development training as well as  health and education programs. Celebrity designed tees for men and women are now available online and in select locations.

  • Good and Fair Clothing (Austin, TX) is a new fashion brand that strives to create clothes that are both good to the earth and fair to people. Men’s and women’s tees and underpants are now available online and at local Austin retail locations.

  • HAE Now (El Sobrante, CA), which stands for Humans, Animals and Environment Now, offers organic t-shirts and other blanks for wholesale, promotional printing and private label needs. All their products are made with organic cotton from the Chetna project, a farmer-owned collective in India.

  • Maggie’s Organics (Ypsilanti, MI) is one of the oldest eco-apparel companies in the United States. Bená Burda, its founder, has been involved with the Fair Trade Certified Apparel and Linens Pilot since 2005, when Fair Trade USA first began to explore the sector. Women’s dresses, Men’s shirts, scarves, wraps, hoodies and camisoles are available online at www.maggiesorganics.com, and at Whole Foods Markets locations across the United States.

  • Tompkins Point Apparel (Wyckoff, NJ), is a Fair Trade and organic clothing brand that creates classic American menswear while serving as a vehicle for social change.  The brand donates 25 percent of its profits to education and economic development projects in the communities from which the company sources its products.

Fair Trade USA is currently working with the following brands to launch Fair Trade Certified clothing items, sourced from India, Liberia and Peru, in Spring 2011 and beyond:

  • prAna (Vista, CA) is an active living brand that offers a harmonious blend of functional design and progressive style. The brand will launch a women’s Fair Trade Certified graphic tee that will be available in February 2011.

  • Autonomie Project (Boston, MA) will offer Little Green Radicals™, a line of children’s Fair Trade and eco-friendly apparel. All of Little Green Radical’s Fair Trade products are made with the highest quality organic cotton. Little Green Radical’s Fair Trade products include quirky and cute playsuits, bibs, t-shirts and hoodies made with gentle, high quality organic cotton grown according to biodynamic standards, the highest level of sustainable agriculture.

  • Greenlight Apparel (Fremont, CA) is an activist clothing brand that produces casual and technical apparel for marathons, sporting events, and corporate events. With a mission to eradicate child labor, Greenlight donates 10 percent of each sale to its Partners For Change, grassroots organizations that have helped rescue over 200 children from illegal child labor. Certified products will be available online and at Sports Basement starting in February.

  • Indigenous Designs (Santa Rosa, CA), is a leader in certified organic contemporary fashion. Founded in 1994, Indigenous pioneered a socially just cottage industry production model with over 300 knitting and hand-looming artisan groups and cooperatives throughout South America. Indigenous is sold in over 500 premium U.S. retail locations and is available now online.

  • Jonano (Pittsburgh, PA) makes contemporary women’s sportswear, women’s and men’s lounge wear, baby wear, and spa products such as towels and robes. Their signature Fair Trade Certified robe will be available for Valentine’s Day.

  • Marigold Fair Trade (Seattle, WA) works with a cooperative of 300 women to produce organic apparel, accessories and house wares from traditional Indian block printed fabrics.

Before now there was no easy way for American consumers to walk into a store and choose an ethical tee over one made abroad in a sweatshop. Fair Trade USA’s Fair Trade Certified label changes that as it helps consumers and companies create jobs and sustainable livelihoods for garment workers and cotton farmers in India, Latin America and Africa:

  • Consumers, for the first time, can vote with their dollars for better factory working conditions by choosing Fair Trade Certified apparel.

  • Factory workers receive direct economic benefits through a Fair Trade premium, between one and 10 percent of the cost of the garment, potentially doubling their earnings on a per-product basis.

  • Workers have a voice in the workplace through grievance channels, protection for freedom of association, and rights training.

  • Cotton farmers receive a guaranteed minimum price to protect them from price fluctuations as well as community investment premiums on every pound of cotton.

For more information on the program, companies can contact Fair Trade USA at garments@fairtradeusa.org.

Read all about Fair Trade USA here: http://www.transfairusa.org/blog/


About Fair Trade USA
Fair Trade USA (previously TransFair USA), a nonprofit organization, is the leading third-party certifier of Fair Trade products in the United States. Fair Trade USA audits and certifies transactions between U.S. companies and their international suppliers to guarantee that the farmers and workers producing Fair Trade Certified goods were paid fair prices and wages. The organization also educates consumers, brings new manufacturers and retailers into the Fair Trade system, and provides farmers with tools, training and resources to thrive as international businesspeople. Visit www.FairTradeUSA.org for more information.


Media Contacts:

Stacy Geagan Wagner, Fair Trade USA

510-663-5260, swagner@fairtradeusa.org


Vanessa Barrington, HavenBMedia
415-505-0116, vanessa@havenbmedia.com


Haven Bourque, HavenBMedia

415.505.3473, Haven@havenbmedia.com