Meghan's Fair Trade Journey
I first met Meghan through a mutual friend, Clarisa of Small Coffee PR. We had a lovely coffee meeting where I heard a bit about her desire to get involved in the Fair Trade community here in Austin. Since then, we seem to keep running into each other at Ethical Fashion Panels & documentary screenings around town! I'm excited to hand over the blog to her today so you can hear her story of how she got interested in Fair Trade:
Shirt from Tradlands (USA) // Scarf (India), Ring (Cambodia), & Earrings (Kenya) from Ten Thousand Villages
When I was asked to write about my personal Fair Trade journey, I struggled to find a starting point. I feel like I have always tried to live my life thoughtfully, with purpose and compassion for others; which, in a nutshell, is what I believe Fair Trade really is.
I suppose, though, that since moving to Austin this journey has gained a lot of momentum. Austin is a city that encourages its citizens to support local businesses and sustainable practices. It is a community where people have the freedom to start a business doing what they love. These are both conventions, I believe, that can be naturally expanded in a global perspective.
Committing to Fair Trade and ethical shopping to me means knowing where the products you are buying come from and that the person creating that product was treated with dignity.
Whether you are buying a shirt from a local shop or from a Fair Trade vendor, your purchase directly affects a human being in a positive way.
On the opposite end, when an item is bought from a large company that mass produces the same item, this purchase is also affecting a human being, but in a much more negative and unsustainable way. To me, this is why I choose to buy Fair Trade or items that were made locally or in the USA when I can.
As an individual, I will probably not be able to make much of a difference in the big picture of consumerism and materialism (and I don’t attempt to), but, if I can make thoughtful purchases and act with purpose, I know I am contributing positively to the world in a direct, albeit small, way.
Shirt from Raven + Lily (Guatemala) // Earrings (Kenya), Necklace (Kenya), & Ring (Cambodia) from Ten Thousand Villages // Shoes from Sseko (Uganda)
The best thing about Fair Trade for me is learning the stories of where the product came from and about the person who made it. I love that so many of my clothes and accessories have a story and, often, I get to share that story when someone compliments me on something I’m wearing.
I also appreciate that a lot of what I own is unique due to the fact that it was handmade; these are unique items that someone far away put a lot of time and skill into making! It’s part of the story.
Choosing to put thought and compassion into what I purchase every day fulfills me in a way that buying blindly and frequently just to have the latest trends never will.
Dress from Raven + Lily (Pakistan) // Ring (Cambodia) from Ten Thousand Villages
Fair Trade not only ensures people are paid a living wage, it also promotes the idea that everyone deserves the opportunity to use their skills to do what they want to do in order to earn a living. My Fair Trade journey has no start and there are no distinct moments that stand out; rather,
it is an ongoing exercise of humanizing items and experiences.
There are over 7 billion people in the world and I am just one of them, but I live a life that connects me with so many other individuals all over the world, and it is this human connectivity that I value more than anything.
We'd love to hear from you! How did you first hear about Fair Trade and what made you interested in getting involved?