Probably you have heard that the fashion industry is the second most polluting industry in the world. Well, the industry has evolved into a monster, not only polluting the environment but also exploiting people working in factories or jobs related with the industry.
As a normal consumer, we all want to look beautiful and wear clothes that show off our style and transmit our very own personal identity. Using clothes as a way to express ourselves and feel prepared to deal with all the different challenges in our lives, is just awesome. What is not awesome, is that the clothes we wear everyday are made by people in the developing world, who do not even have a voice to express themselves and also work in inhumane working conditions. That is the sad part, which should make us question – Do I want to be part of the problem? How can I be buying the same object that is preventing people living far away from my home to have the decent living that they deserve? What can I do to not encourage this system to keep working? What if instead of never wondering about the origin of my clothes, I can wear something that makes me feel proud of and emphasizes my beliefs. That is what we are trying to do at Amor & Rosas by joining the fair fashion movement.
Another thought related with a social issue. How big does my wardrobe have to be to make me happy and feel satisfied? What about owning less clothing and going for my versatile clothes, which can be mixed and matched to create many different looks and also can be worn to different occasions? Also, buying based on my own style instead of fashion trends? We do not have to be part of consumerism. Consumerism is only causing intense resource consumption and waste production, which is hurting our environment in a variety of ways. You are probably thinking – I donate my clothes to other people, but this is not the solution. What about not generating the goods to donate in the first place? It is just about being a more responsible consumer, purchasing only what is necessary.
A&R Fair Trade
At Amor & Rosas we believe in representing and creating honest agreements with indigenous artisans. Where they are our suppliers and we foreseen their best interests. With this in mind, we developed a fair trade model and practices.
Fair trade practices
- At least 20% of the production cost goes to the villages.
- Pay 20% premium over the market price to our handcrafts suppliers.
- Comply with environmental standards and prefer sustainable alternatives when possible.
- Labeling includes detail of ancestral techniques.
- Transparent procedures, open flow of information from suppliers to consumers.
fashion industry PRACTICES
The factory collapse in Bangladesh in 2013 was a big wake up call for many people, but it seems that it was not enough. We believe that there is a group of socially conscious consumers who are becoming aware of the importance of purchasing ethical fashion exclusively. What happened in Bangladesh is a great example of how inhumane the working conditions can be. Personnel working in those garment factories do not even dare to ask for something better, being afraid of losing the only job opportunity they have to generate an income to support their families. As a result, they go to work in a building that is falling apart, receive paychecks below the poverty line, and do not even dream about having opportunities to develop themselves. In some case, factory owners even employ children.
ISSUES IN RURAL LATIN AMERICA
Meanwhile in Latin America, we inherited textile knowledge from our Pre-Hispanic ancestors, which has survived for more than 2,000 years. The knowledge has been passed from generation to generation, along with other knowledge related with land harvesting and astrology. Something happened in the last few decades where the amount of indigenous artisans working in textiles decreased, and currently, this cultural heritage is at risk.
The risk of losing our cultural heritage is not the only social danger, but also an increase in poverty. In rural Mexico, there are people with the artisan profession, taught to them by their parents, but due to the low demand they have stopped working in textiles. Instead, the artisans are now working in jobs requiring little or no skills to perform it, which are clearly jobs with no opportunities for personal development and pay less than the minimum wage. We also have another number of people who aren´t lucky enough to have a job and are unemployed.
We also have cultural issues. People in rural areas, women especially, do not have access to education, are repressed, and some of them have to live in an environment of domestic violence for their whole lives. Only a few are lucky enough to have the opportunity to leave everything behind and move to cities to work as maids, working and living in the same house. Then, they can send money to their families and every once in a while visit their homes.
THE HANDCRAFT INDUSTRY IN MEXICO
If you had the opportunity to visit one of the touristic destinations in Mexico, you probably saw a handcrafts market. So, you may be wondering… What about all those handcrafted goods that are sold to tourists? They are indeed produced by indigenous artisans and the goods come from different regions around Mexico. The problem is that there are middlemen who are the only ones making money in the industry. They buy the goods at a minimum price from the artisans and resale them at a high price. Most of the artisans do not know how to price their work, and even if they know how to, they do not have access to the market or speak Spanish. Plus the indigenous artisans do not know the price that the tourists are willing to pay for their goods. Therefore, artisans only have the opportunity to sell to these middlemen.