Tag Archives: fair trade

Sweatshops: The Changes Being Made

Sweatshops are a concept well known to the world of fast-fashion; clothes that are affordable, and the wages of those who made them, even more so. The reality of bargain prices trace back to countries such as Bangladesh and Cambodia, where manual workers are employed at minimum wage inside a factory or workshop for long hours and under poor conditions.

After the collapse of Rana Plaza in Bangladesh, a building which housed clothing factories among other shops, the transparency of fashion companies’ supply chains are being called into question as change is slowly taking shape around the operation of sweatshops. A pop-up sweatshop by the Clean Clothing Campaign in Amsterdam challenged consumers to sit behind a sewing machine and make as many garments as they possibly could in an hour, encouraging onlookers to question their fashion retailers about their manufacturing conditions.

Photo: Anko Stoffels

Closer to home, the Australian government is making moves toward a Modern Slavery Act, an act that Britain introduced in 2015. Such an act would might force companies to prove that they are not exploiting foreign workers. Companies with an annual turnover of $50 million would be reporting on their suppliers’ use of overseas labour. The result of the act is not to dole out fines, but to keep transparency between companies, consumers and shareholders.

 

Perhaps the example needed in this industry to help curb this problem is Nike. The early 1990s saw the brand exposed and shamed relentlessly for its employment of workers in Indonesia and Vietnam for less than minimum wage. The company was protested and criticized until 1998 when then-CEO Phil Knight announced a raise of the minimum age of its workers and increased monitoring in all factories producing Nike’s goods. In the year following, Nike began creating the Fair Labour Association to enforce codes of conduct including a set 60-hour work week and a minimum age to be employed. The company became the first to publish a complete list of all factories they dealt with in 2005 and continues to take corporate social responsibility in auditing data and upholding their commitments to its workers and consumers.

Photo: Getty

Consumers have a right to know how their goods are being made. Shopping ethically is made easier with Ethical Clothing Accreditation. Ethical Clothing Australia is a program designed to verify that all workers are receiving their legal entitlements. Upon accreditation, retailers appeal to a growing market of consumers and ensure transparency between themselves and consumers.

The change that must occur to better conditions in sweatshops and eradicate slave labour must first come from the consumer. Think about how your money is being spent and whose pocket it’s going into. Brands and retailers must be responsible for their actions. So must we.

 

Written by: Celina Foong

Feature Image: Kay Nietfeld / Picture-alliance

Shopping With a Conscious: Baby Peppers!

Baby Peppers
Featured Bag by Baby Peppers
Baby Peppers

In a world saturated in technology to the point of undeniable dependence, an Eco friendly, ‘Baby Peppers’, are bringing back the old school authenticity of playtime and products made with one of a kind love.

Based in Bendigo, Victoria and made (inspired) in India, Baby Peppers sole ethos is to provide ethical shopping of ‘slow’ inimitable fashion. That is fundamentally socially conscious.

Products include handwoven baskets, totes, wooden toys, cotton quilts and bedding sets. All organic items are sourced from fair trade and artisan communities, aiding in sustainable income.

Staying true to ethical fashion, Baby Peppers are notably the first Australian store to partner with Kateson, an American brand that redefines the meaning of ‘pure organics’. Kateson organic garments are hand dyed in plant botanicals and Ayurveda herbs, with coconut husks for buttons, every final detail is completely artificial/chemical free. Perfect for the curious little ones, the all-organic products quite literally make them safe enough to to eat.

One of Baby Peppers most popular items is the Multicolour Sivankan tote, salutes to the vibrant colours of India, featuring deep sea blues and the hues of a summer sun. The baskets and totes are handwoven from recycled polyethylene and ethically sourced from a world renowned fair trade organisation called Baladarshan. Helping single mums living in the slums of Chennai, India. Celebrating not only the arresting colours of Indian culture, but the empowerment of women through supporting their financial independence.

Unlike flashy toys will all the bells and whistles, Baby Peppers traditional wooden stackers, rattles and race cars encourage creativity due to their simplicity. According to Temple University developmental psychologist, Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, electronic toys make your child a consumer not a creator.

Your child gets to build his or her imagination around simpler toys, they don’t command what your child does, but your child commands what they do.

Electronic toys that boast brain development not only inhibit your child’s natural problem solving abilities but the chemical compounds and production process cause great harm to human health and the environment

Baby Peppers wooden toys are friendly on the earth and on your health. Every piece is handcrafted from sustainable hale wood, lacquered in vegetable dye and coated in natural shellac. All spare parts measuring bigger than 35mm ensuring they won’t lodge into your child’s throat.

Class favourites include the retro race car, cheeky monkey bowling set and the turtle train family. Drenched in lavishly tactile qualities the turtles are coloured in complementary swirls of lemon, circling the smooth spherical domes of their shells. The cheeky monkeys also come with 6 black capped, polka dot bottomed rascals and two candy coloured bowling bowls.

The charm lying not only in their artisanship but their gloriously, glossy aesthetic – deeming them bookshelf worthy. Where a child’s mess is now a designer décor dream!

All products embody one of a kind appeal. With laborious processes of block printing, hand carving, quilting and creating natural dyes, no two pieces will ever be alike. Their appeal lies not only in their aesthetic, but their ethical production, creating a positive impact on broader communities. Every item tells an honest and ethical story.

Baby Peppers offer free shipping Australia wide plus delivery world wide.

To find out more about their products, visit www.babypeppers.com.au

Words by Bridget McDonnell