While on our usual Saturday morning trip to town this week, I joined WDG in visiting the new local ethical clothes shop. Ethical clothes shop? Sounds really lame and hippie-like, right? I could have come up with a more enticing and juicy description instead of a really poor, though short, description, so your derision is entirely my fault. Something along the lines of a “really delightful clothes shop for pretty girls of all ages, based on Fairtrade and sustainable practices” would be a better effort. So where does girls clothing come into my scheme of things? Was I eyeing up a fancy summer frock?
Fear not. As I was hanging around waiting for the girls to try things on, I happened to ask the girl in charge why they didn’t include a selection for us ethically-minded chaps as well. “Oh, we do, but not as much, and it’s all in the sales bin outside….”. Turns out that the chaps just don’t come by with a hankering for some sustainably sourced, handwoven organic cotton garb. Which does seem to be an awful shame.
In the interest of research I stepped outside and had a rummage through said bin. Not a huge selection, decent stuff, and a really splendid chequered shirt by People Tree was available in all sizes. Not only with sound ethics and sourcing, but 50% off as well, so all the buy-it-now bells were playing. A quick try on for size and yes, of course I bought it.
It wasn’t until I got home though that I had a good read of the labels attached to it:
People Tree – Sustainable and Fair trade fashion. Look good – Feel good.
Hey, this does indeed look very promising! And the more I read, the more I liked what I was reading. As it turns out, this shirt started it’s life in an idyllic, clay-earthed village, Thanapara Swallows, near the Ganges river in North-West Bangladesh. Swallows is a women’s project where even traditional mens tasks, such as handweaving, is done by women. The naturally and azo-free dyed yarns are handwoven into fabrics and tailored, providing work for over 200 women. Profits from the trade help cover the cost of running the school for 320 children. People Tree also stared a daycare centre for 60 babies and toddlers in 2007.
Interesting factlet: Handweaving fabric saves 1 ton of CO2 emissions per year per handloom.
You may wonder what the shirt I bought was like? Well, it’s very nice. The handwoven cotton fabric is soft and good, with vibrant checks in colours that go well with denim. The workmanship is as good as any I’ve seen and it fits well.
Oh, and I couldn’t help but notice that People Tree also have a sale on at them moment. Salvation through shopping? Saving the planet one shirt at a time? Heck, why not…