An estimated 100 million people are enjoyed in the fashion industry and 80% of them are women.
60% of these jobs are in developing countries. In Bangladesh and Vietnam alone, Oxfam found that less than 1% of these workers were paid a living wage.
Putting money directly in the hands of women is a proven way to lift communities out of poverty. For every 1 women lifted above the poverty line, she brings another 7 people with her.
We believe strongly, and have seen first hand, how providing good jobs to those in developing countries rather than just a hand out is one of the best ways to give them ownership of their lives, giving them more options if they want to further their education, send their children to better schools, or add on to their homes.
Why the fair trade model is different: "People love to say, give a man a fish and he'll eat for a day, teach a man to fish and he'll eat for a lifetime. What they don't say is...'what would be nice is if you gave him a fishing rod.' That's the part of the analogy that's missing. I realized I needed someone in the privileged world to come to me and say, 'okay, here's what you need and here's how it works.' Talent alone would have gotten me nowhere, I needed Andrew to give me the CD writer. People say, oh that's a handout. No I still have to work to profit by it, but I don't stand a chance without it." Trevor Noah
Liz Alig was built on the idea of producing clothing ethically, as a way to empower those living in places around the world who typically have few opportunities. We partnering with small workshops around the world to produce our collections. They each have an emphasis on a hands on, slower way of production (where one person sews an entire garment from start to finish). Each group sources handwoven, natural or recycled textiles that are native to their region or are easily accessible in their local markets.
Each organization we partner with is helping empower it's employees in their unique way in their corner of the world by either offering free childcare, giving scholarships to further their education, or giving incredibly generous benefits and holidays (something incredibly rare for factories in developing countries!) Liz Alig invests in these groups by designing clothing that will sell in a global market while showcasing their regions traditional textile skills. Liz Alig is a member of the Fair Trade Federation.
What is Fair Trade?
Fair trade is an economic and social movement that aims to provide a more equitable form of global trade especially to producers in developing countries while promoting sustainability. One of the main goals of fair trade is to balance the payment scale in the supply chain. Although many view fair trade as a form of charity, it is rather a way to empower low income communities with a sustainable form of income instead of feeding a cycle of poverty.
Low wages and poor conditions are a reality for many people working in factories in the developing world. In 1980, over 30% of textiles were produced in developing countries. Today this number is 70%. Although this is one way for these countries to enter the global market, many of its citizens only become trapped in a cycle of exploitation. Those using the fair trade model pursue producers in developing countries and low income areas to assist these communities with skills training and business opportunities to encourage their economic growth.
Why Fair Trade is Important...
1. FAIR TRADE celebrates traditional and ethnic techniques that are being forgotten in our culture of fast fashion. We design clothing using age old traditional textiles - they are not only the highest quality, but this slow process puts more meaning back into the clothing we wear.
2. FAIR TRADE means we are working to better the communities where we work - when we establish a relationship with a group it is for the long run.
3. FAIR TRADE equips those involved with skills so they can help themselves. Rather than just giving poor people things we are giving them dignity to help themselves. We also provide design and sewing training so they can compete in a global marketplace.
4. FAIR TRADE ensures the people who make your clothes are paid a fair wage, work in good conditions, and have a voice in their workplace.
5. FAIR TRADE is handmade. There is more meaning in a garment that is made from fabric that is hand woven, hand dyed, hand cut, hand sewn, and hand printed.
6. FAIR TRADE is high quality. Because we are taking clothing back to its roots - our clothing is made from the highest quality fibers...organic cotton, pima cotton, handwoven silk, pashmina wool, and handwoven recycled cotton.
7. FAIR TRADE and recycling go hand in hand. Because fair trade seeks to better the environment, recycling and fair trade go hand in hand.
8. FAIR TRADE producers provide things like insurance, paid holidays, and child care for its employees - these things are unheard of in most factory settings.
9. FAIR TRADE means education. We have countless stories of women who were able to give a better education to their kids and work towards a higher education themselves. This is a proven way to help a society out of poverty.
10. FAIR TRADE gives hope to women who are living in poverty and this is the main reason we do what we are doing!