Saturday, January 28, 2012

What Is Fair Trade And Why Is It Important?

WFTO Fair Trade Organization MarkImage via WikipediaBy Joan S Rasch

Shoppers don't always know what is meant by fair trade. Yet retailers who carry these products are learning that people are quickly becoming informed. And, as this knowledge grows, so does the market. Still, many are left wondering exactly what fair trade is and why it is important to support it.

This article provides a quick synopsis of the concept and the reality of fair trade. Put simply, it is at once a social movement and a market-based method to help producers of goods in developing countries gain more favorable trading conditions. Sustainability is the goal, not simply to make money.

The certification process is an essential component. Producers must meet certain standards. For example, workers, farmers, whoever is engaged in the production of the product must receive payment of a higher price as well as receive decent, sustainable work conditions.

In effect, the goal of fair trade is to positively affect the lives of producers of labor and goods, and therefore attain higher social and environmental standards for these individuals and communities.

If the products carried by a retailer carry an official Fair Trade logo these products have met certain vital criteria. For starters, the standards dictate that employees must receive livable wages and these they must be able to join unions and bargain as a group - collectively.

Forced or child labor is not allowed, obviously. Moreover, specific fair trade standards require that a joint body is set up with representation from both management and workers. This collective body decides on how premiums will be spent to the benefit of employees.

In order for a producer to achieve certification the workers involved in the production of the product must be compensated fairly and their working conditions must offer them a good way to support themselves. Moreover, progressive methods need to be integral to the production process - progress needs to occur over time that impacts the workers positively.

Clearly there are many facets to the story behind these products. As consumers, it is vital that we learn to ask questions about where the products we use come from. We need to seek out such stories and choose to use our purchasing power consciously if we intend to help make a positive change in the world through our shopping decisions.

Fair trade products include clothing, coffee, produce, and an ever-increasing variety of other options. So, the next time you are out shopping, perhaps you can inquire whether these options are offered. You can truly impact other people's lives positively if you take the time to care.

Joan Rasch enjoys writing articles for businesses who are interested in wholesale fair trade products, scarves, bags, wholesale jewelry and clothing. Fair trade products are a result of an organized social movement and market based approach that strives to assist people in developing countries improve trading conditions and promote sustainability.

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Saturday, January 21, 2012

Why Is Eco Fashion, Fashion With a Conscience?

English: A T-Shirt made from Fairtrade certifi...Image via WikipediaBy Annabelle A Randles

Eco fashion is often believed to be plain, earthy and unattractive. Nothing could be further from the truth as very talented designers are working with innovative materials to create some great and trendy clothes.

What makes eco fashion different from conventional clothes is not their style but the fabrics it uses and the way it is manufactured. In a world of fast, cheap and disposable clothes, eco fashion brings us clothing made from eco textiles under fair trading practices.

Eco Textiles

Eco fashion uses eco textiles such as organic cotton or bamboo. Those fibres are kinder to the environment as they are grown without pesticides and insecticides.

Organic Cotton

Often known as the natural fibre, conventional cotton uses around 9% of the world's agrochemical pesticides, about 20% of the world's insecticides and 8% of the world's chemical fertilizers.

This is because cotton flowers are very prone to attacks from insects which has led conventional cotton growers to using those very high levels of chemicals as well as using GM cotton seeds.

A typical conventional cotton t-shirt uses about 150 grams of acutely toxic pesticides and insecticides.

The high levels of chemicals have disastrous effects on farmers health (such as cancer) and pollute the environment while affecting biodiversity. Chemicals can also enter the food chain as cotton bi-products such as cotton seed oil are used in many processed food.

Organic Cotton is grown without the use of pesticides and insecticides that plagued conventional cotton production.

While yields of organic cotton are generally lower than conventional cotton, organic cotton farmers do not have to buy expensive chemicals or GM crops.

Organic farming helps preserve biodiversity while sustaining a healthy environment for humans.


Bamboo fabric has become increasingly popular over the past decade.

Sustainable and versatile, bamboo is the fastest growing plant on earth and requires no pesticides or fertilizers. It requires little water and can grow in many different climates and terrains.

Bamboo fabric is incredibly soft and has a natural breathability keeps you comfortable and dry for longer. It is also highly absorbent (making it the perfect fabric for bath products such as towel and bathmats). Highly breathable with great thermo control properties it is ideal for sportswear.

Eco fashion is a great choice for people with sensitive skins as eco textiles tend to benefit people with sensitive skins such as babies, children, people prone to allergies, eczema and psoriasis.

Upcycled Fabrics

Eco fashion also uses upcycled materials such as wood, plastics or leftover fabrics to transform waste into clothes. By minimising waste, upycled fabrics have a lesser impact on the environment.

Tencel and Lenpur fabrics are made from wood. The wood pulp is turn into cellulose and then onto a soft and silky fibre. Tencel and Lenpur can be used on their on or blended with other fabrics.

Plastic Bottles can be recycled into fleece material which tends to be soft, lightweight, warm and comfortable.

Fabrics leftovers are also used to create new clothes and minimize waste

Fairer Manufacturing

But eco fashion does not only benefit the environment and our health. With fair trading practices it enables disadvantaged communities to earn a decent living far away from sweatshops that plagues conventional fashion. Different schemes/certifications exist around the world to ensure a fairer deal and that no child labour is used.

Two-thirds of this cotton is produced in the developing world where it is often subsidised creating unfair trading conditions. World prices on cotton are unstable and falling prices affect poorer farmers who strive to survive.

The Fairtrade Foundation provides a certification for cotton which support the world's poorest cotton farmers ensuring they have been paid a fair price for their crop. It is not the finished fabric or item of clothing but cotton itself which is Fairtrade certified. Others such as Transfair certify both ends of the supply chain: farms and factories.

Eco fashion is fashion with a conscience. So if you care about the environment, fair trade and animal rights, then it is time to become an eco fashion victim.

Annabelle Randles is the founder of By Nature an online retailer based in London, UK specialising in organic and ethical products.

By Nature eco fashion collection can be found at

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Saturday, January 14, 2012

Hemp Clothing - Your Second Natural Skin

HempImage by lux2night via FlickrBy Nadia Ruseva

Hemp clothing is strong, long lasting and doesn't wrinkle. It keeps the coolness of linen and has the softness of cotton.

If compared to cotton, hemp fibers are longer, stronger, more absorbent, more mildew and microbe-resistant as well as more insulative. In other words, hemp clothing will keep you warmer in winter and cooler in summer than cotton.

Apart from all these qualities, hemp is one of the most ecologically friendly plants. When grown organically, hemp fiber 'breathes' and is biodegradable. Briefly, hemp clothing looks great, feels good, and protects the planet, too.

From field to fabric - natural fiber clothing

Hemp is one of the most ecologically friendly fibers. Hemp plant doesn't need pesticides as it is naturally pest resistant. When hemp is grown in rotation, it has been known to reduce the pests in future crops. Hemp does not require herbicides, because it is grown so densely that other plants can't co-live with it.

Finally, hemp needs little or no fertilizers and it returns most of the nutrients it takes from the soil. All this makes hemp easy to be grown organically. On top of it, the plant grows between 80-120 days and adjusts to many climate zones.

From fabric to clothing - how hemp turns into organic clothing

In creating eco-friendly, organic hemp clothing, growing is only part of the job. Turning fiber into fabric and fabric into hemp clothing must also be done using processes that are healthy both to the individual and the environment.

Modern methods, however, mostly rely on chemical rather than mechanical processes because they save time and money. For hemp clothing to be considered organic none of the processes in creating hemp fabric should involve synthetic chemicals.

Hemp clothing can be dyed or stay with its "natural" color, which is simply the natural beige color of the hemp fibers after processing. That's why hemp clothes with a "natural" color can vary greatly in shades. By the way, hemp fibers are more absorbent to dyes and better screen out UV rays than cotton. This means that the color of hemp clothing fades more slowly than the color of cotton.

Finally, hemp can be made into many fabrics, including linen. When mixed with cotton, linen, or silk, hemp provides a sturdier, longer lasting textile of high quality and softness.

Is your hemp clothing really organic?

In case you want to know for sure if the hemp clothes you buy are really organic, look for an organic certification label. Because the National Organic Program standards apply to food only, you will not see a USDA Organic seal on clothes. Instead, look for the label of the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS). While other eco-labels for clothing and fabrics address raw materials, or chemical finishes, or labor standards, the GOTS certification is the ONLY one that addresses all of the processes.

Nadia Ruseva is a mom, who in search of some tips to raise her child healthy, found a whole new world of inspiration and ideas about how to be healthy and beautiful inside and out... about how to make a difference.

Her website I Prefer Organic is about healthy, natural, eco-friendly and organic alternatives to conventional products as well as tips, recipes and reviews related to organic and sustainable living, fair trade and vegan products.

Visit Nadia to have a chat, discuss a cause, share a view or just to look around for something interesting or inspiring.

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Sunday, January 8, 2012

Vegan Clothing Fashion Trends for 2012 - Ethical Fashion or Just Plain Hype?

The logo of the Vegan Society (UK), which asso...Image via WikipediaBy Tristan Black

What exactly do several a-list celebrities and passionate Hindu's have in common? They are living the vegan lifestyle.

More and more people today than in the past are opting for the vegan life-style as vegan clothing fashion research has reveal that turning into vegan is "cool", "hip", "sexy" and "trendy". This might be true however vegetable centered diet programs may also be extremely healthy, and a lot of people have opted to be vegan to benefit their own health.

Vegetarians possess reduced total body weights, low levels of cholesterol, low blood pressure levels, in addition to reduce rates of cardiovascular disease and diabetic issues. Style developments for 2012 demonstrate that vegan clothing is scorching hawt haut between vegans and non vegans alike. Vegan outfits are highly affected by acclaimed vegans for example Ellen Degeneres as well as Pamela Anderson.

In accordance wit market research this particular trend is here now to stay simply because a lot more people aren't just taking pleasure in the health advantages associated with a vegan way of life but additionally the ecological and ethical advantages too. "We are witnessing a real change from conventional vegetarianism to a more 'social, individual life-style option", "Vegans are not only looking for vegan clothing but also creating a statement using their budgets and having an influence on their friends around them, and merchants are being attentive!".

Merchants these days are including additional vegan clothing and ethical items inside their merchandise catalogs and of course if imitation could be the greatest type of flattery, you shouldn't be amazed to view veggie wordplay with items for example "tofurkey", a tofu item supposed to imitate turkey, or "Vegan fur", an animal free vegetarian synthetic leather/fur substitute.

So what exactly is the main difference from a vegetarian and a vegan anyhow? The lines are frequently fuzzy but the important variation is that vegans not just steer clear of consuming animal centered items, which represents your standard vegetarian, but also keep away from every animal produced items completely. But hang on, there is also a third classification of herbivores referred to as "Raw Vegans".

Raw vegans are just like vegan however they don't cook their food items. They declare that preparing food damages its vitamins and minerals and also the cooking procedure itself leads to the development and discharge of dangerous chemicals.

Who are vegans? Information for the market composition of vegans is tough to find nevertheless most vegans are between the ages of 23-36, 65% female 35% male, having a mean home earnings of $60,000. Vegans devote on mean 15 hrs on the web each week and many are participating in on-line social networking web sites, particularly Twitter, Facebook or MySpace, Google Plus, as well as Foursquare.

The developing issues with the atmosphere, personal well being and animal well being have created an outburst of need for vegan clothing and accessories by both serious vegans and non-vegans the same. Increasingly more merchants these days are progressively launching vegan products.

The reason behind the change is the fact that research has revealed that the single biggest influence a person might have on their planetary footprint would be to change to a vegetarian way of life. So if you're worried about your health, style, the earth, and the well being of animals, you might want to consider veganism.

Interested in learning more about the vegan life or vegan clothing? Click here: Vegan Clothing for more vegan fashion tips and vegan product reviews.

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