I've been enjoying reading Kelsey's blog * Where Am I Wearing? * over the past couple of weeks. He's an American travelling the globe in a quest to find out about the places where his clothes are made. This post in particular was a goodie. What you buy and who you buy it from and how much you pay is certainly not simple.
But the more I find out about fair trade, the more I realise it can make a difference.
That's one of the reasons I have started making our clothes. Especially if I can refashion something found at a thrift store or use second-hand material. Sometimes things are perfect just the way they are in the store - like T3's gorgeous little crocheted-with-lots-of-love-I'm-sure vest.
When I am making things myself, I am much more aware of the amount of effort that goes into them and I am more likely to choose fewer items that work well together than fall into the trap of buying lots of things because they are cheap.
Then.....because I am buying less, and if possible getting it second-hand, I have more money to be able to go to Trade Aid and other such stores and make purchases based on justice rather than the dollar - the K-Mart equivalent may be cheaper, but it is less likely to be ethical.
And doesn't she look just as happy as if she was wearing a brand new exclusive designer piece?
And it's not just me on this soapbox! Father Bear brought home some Oxfam and Trade Aid Literature yesterday. Here are some quotes:
* Half the world's population (2.8 billion) live on less than US$2 a day. 1.1 billion live on less than US$1 a day.
* Poor countries account for 0.4% of global trade. Their share has halved since 1980.
* If Africa, East Asia, South Asia and Latin America each increased their share of world exports by just 1%, the gains could lift 128 million people out of poverty.
* If these regions increased their share of world exports by 5%, they would generate US$350 billion - seven times as much as they receive in aid.
Something's not quite right. Are we in the developed world willing to forgo some comforts to see justice come to the rest of the world?