OAKLAND, Calif. (April 20, 2020) – On April 20th, Fair Trade USA unveils its annual lookbook and campaign, We Wear Fair Trade. This year’s campaign theme and lookbook, “She Wears Fair Trade,” was made in partnership with renowned creative director, activist, and stylist Rachael Wang, and features Fair Trade Certified apparel modeled by prominent human and environmental rights advocates who represent women’s empowerment.
Set to launch during Fashion Revolution Week (honoring the anniversary of the Rana Plaza garment collapse in Bangladesh that killed 1,134 people), this conversation has never been more pressing than now, amid the COVID-19 pandemic and its effect on garment factory employees. Amid this unprecedented crisis, workers, factories, and brands are losing wages and being forced to make difficult decisions to keep their businesses running while protecting health and safety. Orders are being reduced, postponed, or canceled. Lockdowns are preventing work in some countries. Viral exposure on the job is a threat in others. All of this puts apparel employees’ health and financial stability at risk.
Amid this pandemic, we believe fair trade is more important than ever. As such, the Apparel & Home Goods (AHG) team is mobilizing to support its factory partners, workers, and brands during COVID-19 by compiling resources to share with factories about prevention, sanitary protocols, and social distancing best practices; making its Community Development Funds more flexible to use to address crisis-related needs; and providing brand partners with guidance on best practices and fair trade requirements during the pandemic.
The We Wear Fair Trade campaign turns the spotlight on the people who make our clothes and seven strong female advocates in the US who are championing their story. The lookbook “She Wears Fair Trade” was creatively directed and styled by Rachael Wang, photographed by Christelle de Castro, and directed by Daniel Navetta. It highlights the featured advocates and women in the garment, apparel, and home goods industries.
The Fair Trade Certified seal is sewn into all certified apparel — empowering consumers to shop their values and to choose clothing from factories that treat workers with dignity, respect, and a voice in their workplace. The lookbook showcases Fair Trade USA brand partners — J.Crew, Madewell, Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC), Mountain Khaki, REI, Obey Clothing, Outerknown, Patagonia, and prAna — in an effort to raise awareness about the growing collection of Fair Trade Certified apparel, while showcasing the stories of the people behind the clothes themselves.
Featured model activists and garment workers:
- Rachael Wang, Creative Director and Stylist, Rachael Wang Studio
- Nasreen Sheikh, Advocate for Global Women’s Empowerment, International Speaker
- Cameron Russell, Model & Sustainable Fashion Activist
- Jessica Andrews, Deputy Fashion Editor, Bustle & Sustainable Fashion Activist
- Alexandria Villaseñor, Climate Change Activist
- Whitney McGuire & Dominique Drakeford, Co-Founders, Sustainable Brooklyn
- Ayesha Barenblat, Founder & CEO, re/make
- Nikki Sanchez, Indigenous Activist (Not featured in lookbook, but her story will be featured in the online campaign)
- Ana Patricia Cocom Mutul, Worker at Hong Ho Apparel Factory in Mexico
- R. Sumita, Worker in the Cutting Department at Connoisseur Fashions in India
- S. Kalavathi and Suryalakshmi G., Members of the Fair Trade Committee at Bestitch Knits in India
Fair Trade USA, through its AHG Factory program, partners with brands and factories to improve worker well-being at manufacturing facilities by enforcing rigorous health and safety standards and ensuring workers are engaged, represented, and receive supplemental income to improve their livelihoods through Fair Trade USA’s unique Community Development Funds. Fair Trade USA’s Factory Program launched in 2011 with 3 factories in 2 countries. Today, the program reaches over 75 factories in 13 countries, with over 140,000 fair trade factory employees benefiting.
“Collaboration is at the heart of any movement toward change, and with this year’s We Wear Fair Trade campaign I aspired to capture and honor the power that emerges from the gathering of a diversity of experiences, skills, and points of view. Individually, these women work to inspire, organize, and educate their communities, and together they alchemize to create the kind of transformative power that will influence an entire industry,” said Rachael Wang.
“The fashion industry is experiencing unprecedented circumstances due to COVID-19. Countries have closed borders. People around the world have been ordered to shelter in place. Factories and retail outlets have temporarily closed. The impacts of this crisis are being felt far and wide, especially by the most vulnerable, like garment workers,” said Amy Blyth, Director of Partnerships and Program Development for Fair Trade USA’s AHG Factory program. “It’s so easy to feel powerless right now, but that’s why this campaign is so important. It inspires advocacy and gives us tangible ways to take action. Now more than ever, programs like fair trade are critical.”
The We Wear Fair Trade campaign and “She Wears Fair Trade” lookbook officially launch on April 20th.
Creative directed and styled by Rachael Wang
Photographed by Christelle de Castro
Directed by Daniel Navetta (Bryght Young Things)
About Fair Trade USA
Fair Trade USA, a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, is the leading certifier of Fair Trade products in North America. Offering award-winning, rigorous, and globally recognized sustainable sourcing certification programs that improve livelihoods, protect the environment, and build resilient, transparent supply chains, its trusted Fair Trade Certified™ label on a product signifies that it was made according to stringent Fair Trade standards. Fair Trade USA is building an innovative model of responsible business, conscious consumerism, and shared value to eliminate poverty and enable sustainable development for farmers, workers, their families, and communities around the world.