One of the first brands I found looking for alternatives to fast fashion was People Tree.
Founded by Safia Miney in 1991, this was the first clothing company in the world to receive fair trade and organic certifications, the World Fair Trade Organisation Fair Trade product mark (WFTO) and the Global Organic Textile Standard certification (GOTS) from the Soil Association.
Their clothes are made with organic cotton and sustainable materials, only use eco-friendly and natural dyes, and are crafted by artisans and producers who work to Fair Trade standards. For these of you not so familiar with this word, fair trade means that workers receive fair living wages and good, safe working conditions. There is also transparency all along the supply chain so at each stage the quality of the materials and working conditions can be checked. Ultimately though, fair trade is all about respecting workers’ rights and treating them with dignity. With more secure rights, these workers are able to earn a fair living, receive a better education, get access to better healthcare and job opportunities and improve the quality of their and their family’s lives. Pretty good, eh?
People Tree have a phenomenally transparent supply chain meaning that you get to know exactly which businesses around the world have been involved in the making of their clothes. I don’t know about you, but I find this kind of information super interesting – seeing who has been involved in making my clothes, where the materials have come from, how they’ve been treated. There is an entire section on their website dedicated to informing us of all the different communities and people involved in the manufacture of People Tree’s clothes. Here’s the link: http://www.peopletree.co.uk/about-us/who-makes-our-products. Fascinating stuff!
The first clothes I bought after I decided to stop shopping were from this brand of course!
I got a gorgeous navy blue jumper with the word love knitted into it, and a striped pair of trousers. I paired these with a pair of beautiful handmade wooden earrings. I know that some of you might be thinking now that shopping for ethical clothes is more expensive. I’ve actually found the opposite to be true – when you realise that you don’t need loads and loads of cheap, poorly manufactured clothes, you start to spend a lot less and become far more selective of the clothes you do buy. Shopping for high quality clothes (that will last) has actually resulted in me spending far less and saving much more than I did in the past. By being more selective, you really have to take some time to consider exactly what clothes will go well with the ones you already have. Shopping has become an activity of care and creative thought. Gone are my days of impulse buys. Well…nearly.
What I think I like most about People Tree is summed up in this sentence: “When you wear People Tree, you look good and feel good knowing your unique garment was made with respect for people and the planet”. These words couldn’t be more true. Ethical fashion absolutely does not mean ugly fashion. As far as I’m concerned, clothes made by exploited workers in conditions I couldn’t even imagine…well, wearing that is ugly. The clothes I’ve bought from People Tree are aesthetically amazing. But what really makes them beautiful is that have been made with love and respect by people treated with dignity.