As you may (or may not) be aware, October is Fair Trade Month. What a great time to celebrate and share fair trade with our Malia Designs fans and supporters.
We thought we might answer a few common questions about fair trade, along with our favorite aspects of being a fair trade fashion brand.
Q1: What exactly is fair trade?
Fair trade is essentially a business model—one that focuses on much more than profits and losses. Fair trade businesses aim to combat poverty in the developing world by bridging the gap between isolated producers, artisans and farmers and the western market and supply chains. Not only is fair trade a business model, but it is also
– a social justice movement
– a system of global commerce
– a tool for international and community development
Fair trade is a sustainable way to provide economic opportunity and hope for marginalized people in some of the poorest communities worldwide.
Q2: Who regulates or verifies your fair trade business practices?
Malia Designs is proud to be a member of the Fair Trade Federation. The Fair Trade Federation is a community of businesses committed to 360° fair trade. We undergo rigorous screening and strive to create positive change through all of our work: socially, economically, and environmentally. We work with small artisan groups in holistic partnerships built on trust. These relationships go beyond ensuring fair wages and safe working conditions — they empower producers to strengthen their communities and grow their businesses sustainably.
Q3: How do your fair trade practices help to fight Human Trafficking in Cambodia?
Our #1 priority is to empower disadvantaged women in Cambodia by providing economic opportunities through fair trade. In a country where sexual exploitation is commonplace, having access to sustainable income decreases their vulnerability to prostitution and Human Trafficking.
Our goal is to break the cycle of poverty and abuse by providing this income to women and protection and support to children who are vulnerable to traffickers.
Q4: So what is the best part about being a fair trade fashion brand?
Wow! That’s a toughie. There are so many great aspects of designing and selling a product line that helps both people and the planet through fair trade. I definitely think that one of the most rewarding aspects is getting to experience first-hand how the purchase of something as seemingly insignificant as a hand bag can affect positive change in a woman’s life halfway across the globe.
We started this journey 10 years ago and have been working with some of our producers for almost the entire decade. To see the women grow professionally and personally as a result of the work we provide is so fulfilling. We’ve gotten to meet their families and their children and listen to their stories. To witness their support and nurturing of one another’s dreams, and to know that we had a part in their journey is something we are truly grateful for.