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Photo: Elliot Eliash © 2014 Fair Trade USA Photo: Elliot Eliash © 2014 Fair Trade USA

Who made your clothes?

Not what store you bought them from, or what company designed them, but who made them? The people –– flesh and blood, hopes and dreams –– who sourced and stitched the clothes that live and breathe on our bodies.

Who are they?

This year we’re proud to be going a step further to ensure that the community that makes our clothes are treated fairly and come to work every day knowing they’ll be safe and supported. For us, there are two critical halves to a balanced and sustainable supply network: the environment and people.

Fair Trade changes lives. It’s that simple.

When you shake someone’s hand you feel their energy and what they’re all about, just like when you wear clothes that were made by people that were happy vs. people that were working in grueling factory conditions, they just feel better, and make you feel better. It might sound cheesy, but ideally our clothes are with us for the long haul, and you should feel good about where they came from and how they were made.

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Workers from Fair Trade Factories around the world. Images courtesy of Fair Trade USA. Workers from Fair Trade Factories around the world. Images courtesy of Fair Trade USA.
"Fair Trade USA, an organization that works to ensure that factories are safe, healthy, and prosperous for their workers."
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That’s why we’re partnering with Fair Trade USA, an organization that works to ensure that factories are safe, healthy, and prosperous for their workers. For every Fair Trade Certified™ product sold, additional money goes right back to the workers who made it. No middlemen, no red tape, just cash back for a job well done. Workers come together to vote on how to use these profits to empower their lives and address their greatest needs. They invest in things that strengthen their communities, like childcare, improved transportation, or simply as a bonus to save for a rainy day.

Mexico’s Hong Ho is our first factory to join us on the Fair Trade journey, and we’re thrilled to start making this Fair Trade dream a reality. Fair Trade USA, which started off certifying coffee in 1998, now certifies over 30 categories and is a global authority with over 354 strict guidelines in their certification process.

Fair Trade isn’t easy. It’s one of those complicated, multi-faceted concepts that takes some real work. Even so, it can be boiled down to a core principle: it strengthens people’s lives.

With rampant forced labor, human trafficking, and people toiling in badly paid and dangerous working conditions around the world, it’s our job as humans to shop smarter, and understand that cheap clothes often come at a heavy price.

At Outerknown, we’re aligning with factories and producers that care about the environment and the humans whose lives are interwoven with the clothes that we wear. Buying Fair Trade trickles down to nourish our global community. And if more of us started outfitting our lives with products made fairly, that trickle would turn into a flood of kindness that our world could really use right now.

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