Aug. 6, 2018Not so long ago, when one pictured Fair Trade-certified clothing and accessories, a very specific picture came to mind. One of burlap-y tunics and shapeless pants and shoes that resembled haybales more than actual footwear. Not exactly high fashion — or practical for our busy everyday lives, for that matter. Perhaps better suited for a Phish concert, this clothing certainly wasn’t something you’d deem appropriate to wear to the office.
Thankfully, as our awareness of sustainable, trade-related practices has evolved, so too has the Fair Trade industry. Fair Trade has come a long way in recent years, in both design and availability, but one company that has withstood the ebb and flow of Fair Trade’s fashionable (or unfashionable) state of affairs is UK brand People Tree.
Founded over 25 years ago, People Tree is recognized as a pioneer in the Fair Trade apparel world. By partnering with Fair Trade producers, makers, garment workers and farmers in the developing world, People Tree creates opportunities for those that need them while connecting consumers to a more sustainable way of shopping. With modern silhouettes in fun patterns, People Tree is creating ethical clothing you actually want to wear (read: no itchy hemp-based fabric) while providing an alternative to the fast fashion retailers that seem to be taking over our feeds.
“We make beautiful garments that are a living blueprint for our values: people and the planet are central to everything we do. Our garments are made with organic cotton and sustainable materials, using traditional skills that support rural communities.” –People Tree
Clothes you actually want to wear, that are actually sustainable and made by humans who are treated, well, humanely? It’s a concept that seems, well, obvious, but in our fast fashion-oriented world, one that is becoming harder and harder to come by.
What is Fair Trade?
If you’re scratching your head, wondering what Fair Trade exactly is, you’re not alone. While conventional trade tends to marginalize workers (think: overseas workers paid cents on the dollar to make items sold at big box and fast fashion retailers), Fair Trade aims to not only make trade itself fair, but also ensures sustainable manufacturing practices, better pay, and safe conditions for workers. Not just for apparel — but for all trade, covering coffee, cotton, chocolate, bananas, garments and more. Farmers and workers are given a voice in Fair Trade, guaranteeing their communities are advocated for and visible. Yes, by purchasing Fair Trade you may end up paying slightly more for your garments or coffee, but it’s a (very) small price to pay for the safety and dignity of the person or persons who grew and/or crafted the item you’re purchasing. To learn more about Fair Trade, check out the official website.
People Tree has been at the forefront of sustainable style long before the term ‘sustainable fashion’ had entered our vernacular. The Brit brand was the first to receive Global Organic Textile Standard Certification (GOTS) certification on a supply chain based entirely in the developing world on top of creating the first fully integrated supply chain for organic cotton “…from farm to final product”.
To put it simply, People Tree did sustainability before sustainability was cool.
But the clothes aren’t just great for the environment and the people who make them — they’re a boon to your wardrobe as well. Need proof? Shopping inspiration? Read on to discover five of our favorite pieces from their latest collection.
#1 — Oliana Jumpsuit
Kicking off a “need it now” list with a jumpsuit is a bold choice, we know, but that’s a risk we’re willing to take because the Oliana Jumpsuit might just be the super versatile piece your closet is missing. If you’re not yet sold on living the jumpsuit life, consider this: on those mornings when there’s just nothing to wear, a simple black one piece makes dressing for the day a simple task. It’s a fast-track to style — simply slip it on, add a belt if you’re feeling reckless, finish it off with your favorite jewelry. No fuss, no muss.
#2 — Rhiannon Embroidered Top
We all need that one shirt in our wardrobe. You know the one – it can take you from the office to happy hour, from brunch to museum browsing. A shirt like the Rhiannon Embroidered Top, which features delicately embroidered flowers and a slight peplum hem, it pairs perfectly with jeans and trousers, and even looks fab tucked into a high-waisted skirt.
#3 — Cat Pyjama Set
This pajama sets is, well, the cat’s pajamas. Sorry, had to. One look at the sweet feline print of this cozy PJ set and you’ll see why – they’re covered in black cat silhouettes yet somehow still chic. Scoop up the matching nightdress and upcoming robe for peak cat lady status – we won’t judge you for wearing them all at once.
#4 — Lucille Stripe Dress
It’s officially that time of year when talk of “transitional dressing” and pre-fall begins to pop up in magazines and on your social media feed. While not quite as terrifying as too-early pumpkin spice mutterings, for the sun worshippers among us the end of summer is a reality we’d rather forget. Instead of giving in to heavy layers, consider the Lucille Striped Dress, a slightly snugglier version of everyone’s favorite Breton striped shirt. Wear it now with crisp white sneakers and later with tights and boots.
#5 — Lexia Bouquet Jumpsuit
Yes, we’re bookending this with another jumpsuit and we fully stand behind this choice. Crafted of breezy, lightweight Tencel, the Lexia Bouquet Jumpsuit is, in a sense, the opposite of the Olinia Jumpsuit in that it’s slightly more statement making. Less a staple, more a standout. Made to make a statement, this is the kind of piece that people will compliment you on, saying things like: “I love your dress!” At which time you’ll respond excitedly, “Thanks, it’s pants!” See what we’re saying?
What’s your favorite piece from People Tree? Share with us by tagging us with @AvocadoMattress or #AvocadoGreenMagazine