Read about Athleta here.
There is a scene in Mr. Deeds (a 2002 Adam Sandler comedy) where Mr. Deeds has to try to convince a room full of angry shareholders to sell back their shares so that His uncle’s company and legacy doesn’t get broken up and scattered to the wind. One of the naysaying shareholders stands up and says—“So are you trying to convince us to hate money?”
Everyone in the room laughs at Mr. Deeds but in the end—he manages to remind these investors that there is more to life than making money. Sweet. Happy. The end.
I feel like promoting fair trade is like trying to convince a room full of women to hate shopping. I will sometimes tell high school audiences to cover their ears if they aren’t ready to quit shopping fast-fashion stores that crank out low-quality pieces at the expense of the factory workers they employ.
Our shopping habits get challenged when we start to learn about injustices that take place in the fashion industry. And some of us aren’t quite ready to “handle the truth”.
I know this first-hand because once I started discovering this for myself, I literally quit shopping. I froze! I cried when I stepped foot in the mall—partly because I wanted to shop AND because I felt so guilty. I even banned Target for an entire year, people! Well almost---I resorted to punishing myself by only going to the boring aisles like cleaning supplies and frozen food section. CRAZY, right?
But just like Adam Sandler convinced a mob of angry investors to pull back on an unethical investment by rekindling their original dreams—proponents of Fair Trade also need to learn to inspire women to see the potential in a new way of shopping.
Warning people about the evils of the fast fashion industry may work for a little while but what if we highlighted the companies that are moving in the right direction?
Believe it or not, there are companies that are daring to put people and planet first.
And guess what? Since more people are asking questions about how their clothes are being made, the more mainstream companies are responding.
The tide is slowly turning.
Take Athleta, for example, is a sustainable brand under the Gap Inc umbrella. Athleta is a certified B-Corp, which requires a strong commitment to sustainable practices such as using sustainable materials, water conservation efforts and waste reduction.
The company also empowers women in 16 countries through their PACE program.
Check out their Belief:
"Women are essential members in all communities- near and far. Gap Inc. created the P.A.C.E. program to invest in the women in the communities where our clothes are made by providing tools to help them reach their full potential."
I know what you are thinking-- BUT ITS TOO EXPENSIVE!!!!!
I know, momma, it IS expensive. But I’ve had to make peace by choosing to own less, high-quality clothing that respect people and planet over more, lesser quality clothing.
Plus, I LOVE my leggings. They are ultra-soft with hidden pockets and my goodness-they even have a breathable crotch gusset. Amen for that! If only they magically burned calories for me—but unlike Fair Trade—that is wishful thinking.
I also love that Athleta has selections for my 12-year old daughter whom I am trying to instill the same values. I try to inspire her by reminding her that there are real young women with hopes and dreams making these clothes. I believe it is our role as women, to help be a small part in making sure that justice is served in every part of the world.
Are we 100% fair trade in our home? Of course not! We ARE humans living in a VERY unfair world—but it brings me so much hope seeing the signs towards a more humanitarian approach in our consumer-driven world.
I get so excited every time I see a clothes tag that shows that the company is doing SOMETHING GOOD for the world and I’m finding more and more of those tags.
Adam Sandler wasn’t telling those investors to hate money just like Fair Trade isn’t telling you to hate shopping. On the contrary, it is a challenge to cast our vote for a better world with each purchase that we make. It won’t be perfect, but like I always say, it’s about direction, not about perfection.