Fair Trade Friday: Shopping for Fair Trade Fashion


Last week, the world marked Fashion Revolution Day, pushing for continuing reforms in response to the Bangladesh factory disaster one year ago.Although the tragedy has spurred reforms on the ground, the fashion and retail industry has roots–and issues–in many more countries beyond Bangladesh. Just recently, investigators have located the man who, as a desperate inmate of a Chinese work camp in 2012, smuggled out a message in a paper bag eventually picked up by a shopper at Saks 5th Avenue. Tohnain Emmanuel Njong’s letter shares harrowing details that correlate with what is already known of Chinese prison factories, or laogai, where forced labor produces electronic, garments, and paper bags. Stephanie Wilson, a human rights advocate who found Njong’s note in her shopping bag, says the experience was “a bit eye-opener”: even when consumers try to be mindful in their purchases, few think to consider the source of generic items like…

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