because there is much beauty everywhere.
~ Rainer Maria Rilke
Yesterday, I came across a pair of fair-trade certified jeans at Target. They cost $34.99 (full price)! They have the fair-trade logo on the tag + in the jeans. This discovery got me thinking + doing a little bit of digging.
I noticed that these Target fair-trade certified jeans cost $34.99 (full price), while the same style of non-fair-trade certified jeans cost $29.99. Sadly there is not even a mention of the fair-trade certified jeans being fair-trade in the title of the item on the website or in the store, so the only difference most shoppers will notice is the slightly higher price tag.
These Madewell fair-trade certified jeans cost $128 (full price), while the same style of non-fair-trade certified Madewell jeans also cost $128. Again, there is no mention of fair-trade status in the item description. The identical pricing leads me to believe that the cost increase of making jeans in a fair-trade certified factory must not even be enough to be reflected in the cost to consumer! Madewell's enormous mark-up can easily absorb this cost.
It's interesting to imagine that sourcing cotton from farmers, processing that cotton, spinning, weaving + dying that fabric...transporting the fiber from one process to the next...the zipper, other hardware thread, tags...all the detailed sewing of jeans...transport to warehouse + stores...AND mark-up...could be done for $34.99. I'm assuming that only fair-trade (overseas*) sewing has been included in the fair-trade certification of these jeans. Fair labor throughout the supply chain has not necessarily been addressed...not to mention cotton that is grown without toxic chemicals. I imagine that the same goes for the $128 jeans. The only difference is that Madewell makes a lot more money than Target does on mark-up.
Even so...if fair-trade (overseas*) labor can be achieved for $35...then how much more would it really cost to pay fairly throughout the supply chain?
And really...shouldn't fair wages just be part of the system? Most of us lived under the assumption that garment workers were paid fairly for some period of time + needed to wake up to the fact that fair wages aren't already part of the system that brings us the clothes we wear.
Who is responsible for unfair wages? Anyone choosing to keep a little (or a lot) more money for themselves. This comes down to heads of brands who cast a vision for profits over people. It comes down to owners of factories who want to grow their own wealth rather than that of their employees. It comes down to us...when we continue to choose cheap/easy/instant gratification without regard to who is paying the price that we are unwilling to pay.
These jeans seem to reveal something that even the self-proclaimed "transparent" brands are not sharing with us: fair-trade does not cost them much. They cannot continue to sell us on the lie that WE would not want to pay them enough to pay their garment workers fair wages.
Photos via links. Unlinked photo, mine.
*Just one more thing to address: The brands mentioned here outsource labor to countries with the lowest standards of living, so "fair wages" are falsely low. Jeans made closer to home cost more, because a living wage is higher. Even then, many garment workers in the USA are paid poorly. It is important for brands to manufacture where they live, so that they can have close relationships with those making their (our) clothing.
Ceres Sport is an exciting, new brand focusing on classic athletic wear made from natural fibers rather than the plastic fibers. Recycled or not, plastic fibers shed microfibers with each wash. Those microfibers find their way into waterways, drinking water, rain + the air we breathe.
Some Ceres Sport pieces made from 100% cotton, which would allow them to be compostable at the end of their usefulness as clothing + rags (just cut off elastic). Some pieces are made from deadstock fabrics which not only saves these leftover fabrics from the landfill, but keeps new resources from being used. Their pieces are designed + made in Los Angeles. These are exactly the kinds of things I truly want to wear...especially those high waisted, cotton leggings + cotton, drawstring pants. Ceres also offers various, free, weekly, online classes. Thank you so much, Alix, for sharing this amazing brand!
More alternatives to plastic shedding clothing.
More fair athletic wear here + here.
Ceres Sport has been added to the first + last of these posts. All three of these posts can be found at the bottom of the ethical brands page when needed.
All lovely photos via Ceres Sport.
Last evening we experienced a new kind of abundance in the garden. We had a swarm of about a hundred dragonflies swoop + zoom over our garden for an hour or two. They were apparently feasting on our plentiful mosquito population, which we were happy to share. :) What a magical sight (after we realized that they weren't some other big, gross bugs)!
This morning, I experienced a different kind of abundance out there. Sungold tomatoes are ones that always grow best for me where we live. When I've tried larger varieties of tomatoes, I was lucky to have a few make it to a full, juicy, red. Sungold are plentiful enough to share with the squirrels + chipmunks...to eat as many as we want fresh...and to preserve enough to last all year.
I planted four pepper plants this year. The jalepenos (there are three of them in that bowl) + the one that grows these red ones have been the stars. Both have provided throughout the summer. Today there are enough to enjoy fresh, to share + to preserve.
I wasn't sure we were going to get any cucumbers this year, but a few of them have finally shown up. They haven't all been very pretty, but they make delicious pickles. I've used my quick, easy pickle recipe + added a piece of jalepeno to each jar instead of the pepper flakes. Yum!
Chaya + Simi are sisters, mothers + the designers behind The Frock NYC. Their pieces take into account both their orthodox Jewish upbringing + their love of simple, easy style. Almost all of The Frock NYC's pieces are made in New York City.
Lovely photos via The Frock NYC. I will add this brand to our ever growing list of ethical brands for easy, future reference.
on a journey toward zero-waste, simplicity, + compassion :: daring to choose fair one choice at a time