Our goal at Liz Alig is to create clothing ethically from the fabric we use to way we sew our garments. We do this by partnering with like minded organizations around the world to produced our collections from locally sourced handwoven fabrics or recycled textiles.
We partner with over ten women's cooperatives and fair trade workshops around the world. One of our main partners in Honduras, Mi Esperanza, provides skills training to low income women. They empower women, who previously lived on less than a dollar a day, with free sewing, salon, jewelry, and computer classes so they are then able to find employment and support themselves and their families.
Each organization we partner with is helping empower women in their unique way in their corner of the world. We partner with so many different groups because they each have access to unique traditional textiles and we believe in the mission of each group we partner with - whether it is one women entrepreneur sewing from her home or a larger fair trade organization producing hundreds of products. Liz Alig invests in these groups by teaching them designs that will sell in a global market and improving their quality control. Our final goal is to help these groups become self-sustaining and give them the skills to launch their work in a global market.
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. Fair trade is a way to empower them, so they do not get trapped in this cycle. 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 We Think 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!
Fair Trade Federation Standards
Liz Alig is a proud member of the Fair Trade Federation.
CREATE OPPORTUNITIES FOR ECONOMICALLY AND SOCIALLY MARGINALIZED PRODUCERS - Fair Trade is a strategy for poverty alleviation and sustainable development. Members create social and economic opportunities through trading partnerships with marginalized producers. Members place the interests of producers and their communities as the primary concern of their enterprise.
DEVELOP TRANSPARENT AND ACCOUNTABLE RELATIONSHIPS - Fair Trade involves relationships that are open, fair, consistent, and respectful. Members show consideration for both customers and producers by sharing information about the entire trading chain through honest and proactive communication. They create mechanisms to help customers and producers feel actively involved in the trading chain. If problems arise, members work cooperatively with fair trade partners and other organizations to implement solutions.
BUILD CAPACITY - Fair Trade is a means to develop producers’ independence. Members maintain long-term relationships based on solidarity, trust, and mutual respect, so that producers can improve their skills and their access to markets. Members help producers to build capacity through proactive communication, financial and technical assistance, market information, and dialogue. They seek to share lessons learned, to spread best practices, and to strengthen the connections between communities, including among producer groups.
PROMOTE FAIR TRADE - Fair Trade encourages an understanding by all participants of their role in world trade. Members actively raise awareness about Fair Trade and the possibility of greater justice in the global economic system. They encourage customers and producers to ask questions about conventional and alternative supply chains and to make informed choices. Members demonstrate that trade can be a positive force for improving living standards, health, education, the distribution of power, and the environment in the communities with which they work.
PAY PROMPTLY AND FAIRLY - Fair Trade empowers producers to set prices within the framework of the true costs of labor, time, materials, sustainable growth, and related factors. Members take steps to ensure that producers have the capacity to manage this process. Members comply with or exceed international, national, local, and, where applicable, Fair Trade Minimum standards for their employees and producers. Members seek to ensure that income is distributed equitably at all times, particularly equal pay for equal work by women and men. Members ensure prompt payment to all of their partners. Producers are offered access to interest-free advance payment for handmade goods, or pre-finance of agricultural harvest with favorable terms.
SUPPORT SAFE AND EMPOWERING WORKING CONDITIONS - Fair Trade means a safe and healthy working environment free of forced labor. Throughout the trading chain, Members cultivate workplaces that empower people to participate in the decisions that affect them. Members seek to eliminate discrimination based on race, caste, national origin, religion, disability, gender, sexual orientation, union membership, political affiliation, age, marital, or health status. Members support workplaces free from physical, sexual, psychological, or verbal harassment or abuse.
ENSURE THE RIGHTS OF CHILDREN - Fair Trade means that all children have the right to security, education, and play. Throughout the trading chain, Members respect and support the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, as well as local laws and social norms. Members disclose the involvement of children in production. Members do not support child trafficking and exploitative child labor.
CULTIVATE ENVIRONMENTAL STEWARDSHIP - Fair Trade seeks to offer current generations the ability to meet their needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Members actively consider the implications of their decisions on the environment and promote the responsible stewardship of resources. Members reduce, reuse, reclaim, and recycle materials wherever possible. They encourage environmentally sustainable practices throughout the entire trading chain.
RESPECT CULTURAL IDENTITY - Fair Trade celebrates the cultural diversity of communities, while seeking to create positive and equitable change. Members respect the development of products, practices, and organizational models based on indigenous traditions and techniques to sustain cultures and revitalize traditions. Members balance market needs with producers’ cultural heritage.