As the world becomes smaller through increased travel, better transportation systems, and new communication channels, consumers are having a greater opportunity than ever before to be able to own items made by artisans from all around the world. Not only are these items beautiful, but being able to bring a piece of your vacation or another part of the world into your home is something special that many cherish. Although there are many benefits for artisans around the world to be able to sell their handmade goods to foreigners, this opportunity also presents a threat to traditional culture and to the integrity of the production process.
It is hard to know while purchasing a product, even with the best intentions, where it truly originated from and the story behind it. In every part of the world, there are different factors affecting the production and tourism industry that are hard to evaluate unless you can fully assess all sides of the story, something that as visitors can be difficult.
What can we do as consumers to ensure that we are purchasing with integrity, empowering artisans, rather than pushing them downwards into the cycle of inequality and lack of opportunity? One solution is to buy from vendors that are registered as Fair Trade.
The World Fair Trade Organization classifies “Fair Trade” into 10 key principles. Organizations that are Fair Trade certified must continually uphold these ideals and practices.
This month, on May 11th, we will celebrate World Fair Trade Day. To celebrate, we urge and encourage all of our supporters and customers to do research on where you are purchasing your products from and support organizations that follow the 10 principles of Fair Trade.
To find a business that resonates with you, visit the World Fair Trade Organization’s website. Additionally, donate to our Fair Trade Day Campaign to offer access to education on Global Fashion Trends to 60 artisans.