This summer Global Village celebrated our 11th anniversary. Fair Trade has grown exponentially in the last eleven years. We began with ethnic craft items--timeless in their use of indigenous patterns and materials--and with coffee, tea, chocolates, books, posters, and greeting cards. And most Fair Trade shops bought from the same handful of suppliers, so you could expect to see similar goods from store to store.
No longer! Fair Trade has exploded: if we had space, we could stock FT wedding gowns, soccer balls, shoes and sandals, furniture, and drapes. And that timeless quality of traditional crafts...? Fair Trade non-profit organizations now employ designers who work with the artisan cooperatives to create products for Western markets. We get announcements about the new Pantone colors for the coming season: emerald is "in" for this fall. --or is emerald "in" for next spring? We are already seeing teasers for the 2014 collections.
Fair Trade has become "fashionable." Fair Trade clothes have even gone High Fashion. And "fashion" moves at a fast pace. Whether we are talking about clothes, accessories, or home decor, we feel the pressure to market like the chain stores--to put out the new stock, close out the new stock (at low, low prices), and put out the newer new stock. And that's good, right? We want to grow the industry!
Yes, but... In the rush it's easy, sometimes, to forget that our real mission is "Buy Fair, Be Fair."