Ethical fashion is a wide concept, encompassing a variety of values – from environmental responsibility to animal cruelty – and human rights. At Vilda, we are passionate about vegan fashion (duh), but we also care about dressing in a way that caused as little harm as possible to the humans who made them. One way to show that you care about the humans who produced the clothing you wear is to support Fair Trade fashion in different ways (not just through shopping – we will get to that in a while). But firstly, let’s find out more about what Fair Trade is and how fair trade and veganism work together.
What is Fair Trade?
The aim of the fair trade movement is to help traders in developing countries to achieve better trade conditions. As so much of today’s production happens in developing countries, protecting the workers’ rights and enforcing correct trade conditions is key.
How does Fair Trade do that?
By setting and enforcing standards. For farmers and workers, but also for companies, when it comes to fair pay, environmental awareness and workers’ rights.
By lobbying governments. Fair Trade demands fair treatment in countries that engage in trade deals with Western countries. Some current campaigns include Fashion Revolution and new trade deals for Brexit.
By promoting opportunities for women. Since the majority of garment workers are women, all trade that is truly fair is also feminist. Fair Trade seeks empowerment of women through the creation of opportunities and promotion of leadership.
…and much more! See more at FairTrade.org.uk
The connection between Fair Trade and veganism
Vegan philosophy and Fair Trade intersect on a number of points, the first being transparency – just like a Fair Trade label exists to help people make informed consumption choices, a vegan label is available to those who wish to be certain that no animals were harmed in the making of a product. Providing trustworthy labelling and consumer information is one of the key tenets of both Fair Trade and veganism.
With this in mind, we have compiled a list of our favourite vegan brands that also support Fair Trade fashion
Miakoda NYC – this loungewear and knitwear brand is creating organic and Fair Trade vegan fashion.
Bhava Studio – a US-based shoe brand working with ateliers in India and Spain to create their Fair Trade vegan shoes.
Jill Milan – the glamorous choice when it comes to vegan, Fair Trade handbags. Produced in Italy and loved by celebrities.
Toko Toko – this Los Angeles-based accessory and homeware brand has sustainability and Fair Trade as its core values.
HFS Collective – this vegan bag label, created by a mother-daughter duo, values workers’ rights and animal rights alike.
Bead and Reel – a Vilda partner brand that uses several criteria for brands to be featured in the all-vegan online shop – one of them being Fair Trade.
Annaborgia – a perfect destination for formalwear, this all-vegan fashion house is run and driven by women, with human rights at its heart.
Delikate Rayne – if you’re looking for contemporary womenswear with an edge, that’s all vegan and sustainable, you’ve come to the right place.
Wully Outerwear – premium vegan-friendly outerwear from Canada, from a label that also believes in fair labour.
Fair Trade brands that are “accidentally vegan” (offering only vegan products, but without having veganism as a specific focus)
Maven Women – with the motto “buy less, buy better”, Maven is committed to WFTO’s 10 Principles of Fair Trade, and is certified by the Global Organic Textile Standard.
Passion Lillie – a company with women’s rights and Fair Trade at its very core, Passion Lillie creates ethically produced men’s and women’s apparel, accessories and extras like napkins and greeting cards.
Groceries Apparel – breezy basics and evergreen daywear for men and women manufactured in the company’s own Los Angeles factory.
Important note: this list is pretty good (yeah, we know) but it does not include all vegan-friendly, Fair Trade companies. There are brands out there with great policies and supply-chain transparency practices, but as some of them lack third-party certification and we have not had a conversation with them about Fair Trade, they are not on this list. If you are a vegan and Fair Trade brand and would like to be included, get in touch with us.
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Compiled by Fashion Editor Sica Schmitz and Founding Editor Sascha Camilli
Photos by Pete Bellis and Zhou Yu via Unsplash.