Soul and Salsa Magazine

Current Issue

Eco Couture Fashion

Carry the world on your shoulders because well…it’s green.

Have you ever thought about how great it would be to travel the world? It is often something on one’s bucket list. Traveling the world is listed as the number one bucket list task by most people who have a list. Other popular bucket list tasks include traveling to a particular country, living in a particular country, or doing something certain countries are known for in that country, i.e. running with the bulls in Spain.

If you don’t have a lot of money, or you would rather put your money to other uses, you can travel the world through your clothing. In the mainstream clothing market, most garments are made in China, Taiwan, and Singapore. You would think its mostly made in China but surprisingly, China and Hong Kong only equate to 26% of the manufacturing market. The rest of the manufacturing rights are divided between countries from Guatemala to Vietnam. The United States of America only manufactures a little over 6% of garments sold in the USA.

A worker at the Chinese sock factory makes just $14 a day, or $270 in month. In America, a clothing worker makes $88 a day, or $1,760 a month. So, here is an option which not only is an ethical choice, it supports Fair Trade rights. Wear Fair Trade clothing from around the world. Let your clothes do the traveling for you.

A great way to find Fair Trade clothing without a lot of digging is to shop online. Use key words when you search like “fair trade”, “hand made”, and “ethical clothing”. Products are more accessible than they formerly were. The internet has brought a world shopping mall to us. So, take advantage of having more choices.

Look at labels and see where your clothing is made. Get familiar with where you want to purchase versus where you should avoid purchasing from because of their manufacturing practices. Google the clothing made in the countries that do not have ethical practices. When you are tempted to choose brands over ethics, you will begin to hold yourself accountable when you are aware of the factories and lifestyle of those that make your clothing.

You will begin to discern what you really need. Your budget will be positively affected. Begin to understand clothing labeling terms like “fair trade”, “organic”, and “cruelty free”.

Step back and put an outfit together from your wardrobe. Once you have done that, look at the Fair Trade options you can trade garments in your closet for (no pun intended). For example, for the office, try a bamboo blouse made in the USA with a silk scarf made in Singapore fair trade. Take baby steps and build from there.

Try gold accessories from India; some of the best quality in the world. India and Kenya also have great Fair Trade reclaimed leather handbags. Consider Fair Trade shoes from Italy or Spain, which are also great quality. Remember you don’t have to take steps in huge leaps. The fact that you thought mindfully and have a desire to practice mindful living is a “giant leap for mankind”. When you buy, think about the fact that you are not only purchasing something for yourself, but that your purchase is interconnected within the world market. This creates ripple effects right down to a child who may be working in a factory in China.

As the owner of an Eco-friendly clothing company, EcoCouture (www.ecocoutureclothing.com), I’m inspired by Artisans around the world that pays attention to detail. They work diligently crafting mindful goods from the heart. Fair Trade Artisans work to care for their families and communities and the preservation of their heritage. The Fair Trade market is a beautiful spider web of connection, community, love, and hard work. We wear these garments on our backs. We can carry the world on our shoulders and look good doing it.

As the proverb goes, “It takes a village to raise a child”, we carry each other’s burdens in style, grace, and most importantly, mindful living.

The EcoCouture shop site, www.ecocoshop.com, is where you can buy a purse made by a Fair Trade Artisan. Some of the proceeds go to help free young girls from the sex trade. Buy mindfully around the world. Look good doing it.
Karundi Serumaga

Business Central