What Makes Clothing Fair Trade Certified, So You Can Feel Confident You're Shopping Completely Ethically

by Hayli Goode
Jun 9, 2015 2:25 PM ET

Fair working conditions, safely structured buildings, and worker empowerment are just three of the 354 guidelines Fair Trade USA has structured to rule what makes fair trade clothing, food, home products, and everything else you buy actually fair trade certified. It’s a lot more than just calling an article of clothing fair trade that makes it actually free of unfair labor practices. According to Maya Spaull, the director of apparel and home goods at Fair Trade USA and Jenna Larson, senior manager of communications at Fair Trade USA, fair trade clothes or products is much more than sans-slave labor — it’s about the workers feeling empowered in their environment.

Recently, I wrote an article about the difference between fair trade and ethical fashion. While I explained that ethical fashion has a pretty broad definition, the meaning of fair trade is understood by 55 percent of America’s population, according to Larson. Fair Trade USA is a non-profit organization that uses their profits to teach “disadvantaged communities how to use the free market to their advantage.” Essentially, fair trade products are free from social injustice, including but not limited to labor rights, fair pay, and clean and safe working environments. 

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Jenna Larson
Fair Trade USA
+1 (510) 844-1668