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The Fairtrade Certification For Fashion, Explained

by: Rosie Dalton | 4 months ago | Features

Image: organic cotton that is fairly harvested in Ceará, Brazil. Image via Veja. Image source.

‘Fair trade’ is one of those common fashion industry terms that’s used a lot, but often misunderstood. So what does a Fair Trade certification actually mean in fashion?

The Fairtrade organisation defines it as supporting farmers and garment workers to take control of their futures. “Fairtrade advocates for better working conditions and improved terms of trade for farmers and workers in developing countries,” the company explains. Which requires strict compliance guidelines and rigorous auditing on an ongoing basis.

At WMC, we believe Fair conditions for workers are incredibly important, which is why it's one of our eight core values. To meet our Fair value, the brand’s major Cut Make Trim manufacturers must be accredited with a globally recognised, independent certifier like Fairtrade. 

These may not seem like things we still need to worry about, but unfortunately modern slavery remains rife in many brands global supply chains. And lots of brands continue to struggle with these issues.

For Fair label Arc & Bow, open communication with factories was a must. After being burned by a previous factory that withheld information from her, the brand’s designer and founder Liz Turner sought out factories with certified Fairtrade facilities. And she has since built Arc & Bow to be a transparent fashion brand with a fair supply chain. Online the label lists all factories and their certifications, including Fairtrade and Global Organic Textile Standard certifications. Which are important, because fashion's environmental impacts also have an impact on issues of race and human rights.

“Our factories all have a requirement for deep social connection and a fairtrade labour standard,” explains Arc & Bow. “Our partnership with each manufacturer means that together, we can ensure that business is conducted with respect for one another's cultures, with no room for discrimination of any kind within our, and their, supply chain networks.”


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