How Square is Fair?

‘Is it fair?’ is a question most of us well-meaning shoppers ask ourselves as we purchase this season’s staples. As a new generation of ethical shoppers emerge, the high street is under pressure to meet their demands by housing their own fair trade collections. But fashion and fair-trade are something of an oxymoron. That is until recently.

I’m sure many of us have accidentally come across the fair-trade collections in Topshop whilst browsing the rails finding ways to spend our loan. Fair trade is not a new phenomenon but it has hit the high street by storm this past year, with Marks and Spencer, Next and Topshop all housing a collection in support of fair trade cotton.

However the constant battle that many of us face is the battle between fashion and guilt. Until now fair trade clothing has been promoted by Jesus sandal-wearing church groups and has been deemed extremely unfashionable. But the high street has revamped the fair trade connotations as the new cool. Topshop’s collection plays fairly safe with disappointingly inoffensively, simple pieces but nevertheless there has been a small improvement.

A pioneer in fair-trade is Adili, with their collections sporting a rustic romantic style, you’ll be pleasantly surprised, however the price tags may disappoint as they are on the more expensive side. Their webpage at first glance appears to be Topshop or Urban Outfitters but at a further glance you realise that this is a fair-trade website. The clothes are fashionable and well made. Not only do they look good but they also ease the conscience. On this website all fashion freaks can shop with an easy conscience.

Unfortunately the same can’t be said for the high street yet. As they are slow to pick up the pace on fair-trade clothing but with Adili hot on the game, we can but hope that fair-trade is no longer associated with mother earth tree huggers but instead fashionable shoppers that have a conscience.

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By Laura Sedgwick


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