Furoshiki!

Try this easy, eco-friendly alternative to wrapping paper. Here’s an ingenious idea you might like if you want to avoid being knee-deep in wrapping paper this season. It’s based on a centuries-old Japanese fabric folding technique called furoshiki that lets you wrap objects in a piece of cloth – or, as we suggest in an Envirosax Bag. It might look a bit daunting, but watch this video for a quick demonstration. And the bonus with using Envirosax bags instead of simple fabric? The wrapping paper is a gift in itself!

Farewell, Fast Fashion

For the better part of this century, Fast Fashion has been one of the few apparel industry “success” stories. That is, if you define success as corporate dictated fashion trends, completely new looks every month or so, and addictingly low prices that make it possible to take part in the whole thing. H&M, Forever 21, Zara, Old Navy. Brands like these normalized the $10 t-shirt.

 

But the human and ecological effects of Fast Fashion have been catastrophic for our planet and many of its people. That’s because we’re buying an eye-popping five times as much clothing as we did in 1980. And why wouldn’t we? In 1990, the average price of a basic t-shirt in today’s dollar was around $38. Today it’s just over $14.

 

There’s a high cost for these low prices. To get a $14 tee, someone had to be paid a lot less than a living wage. It’s math and it’s not complicated. In fact, that $14 tee probably earned the garment worker in a country like Bangladesh twelve cents, according to a study by Macleans Canada.

t-shirt

 

In other words, for every hundred dollars you spend on clothing, less than a dollar goes to the human being who worked really hard to make it.

 

cheap-clothes.jpg

 

And apparel is well-documented as one of the most environmentally demanding industries in the world – so buying five times as much is obviously a big burden on our planet.

 

Films like The True Cost have started raising awareness of an apparel industry that many consumers erroneously believe was cleaned up when Kathy Lee Gifford discovered the sweatshops being used to make her clothing line in the 1990’s.

 

But things may be slowly changing. More and more of you are telling us you’re growing tired of Fast Fashion and the herd mentality that it perpetuates. That you’re seeking quality over quantity. And fashion that lasts longer than a Netflix binge.

 

We hear you and we welcome you with open arms. Our remedy is a fully evolved sort of fashion that is different from start to finish.

 

It usually starts with pure organic Pima cotton from a family farm on the coastal plains of Ica, Peru – hands down among the finest, softest, strongest cotton on earth. And longest lasting.

Story-NewExpo2v2

 

Most of our fabrics are pre-washed at the fabric stage (not the garment stage). This time-consuming step is not common in the industry, but it insures that not only are styles pre-shrunk, they will also avoid much of the puckering that can happen around the seams with repeated washes where sewing threads shrink at different rates than the fabric. Pima cotton also resists pilling, wash after wash. Many of our customers report that they’ve owned the same tee or dress for years and it still looks like new.

 

Then there’s the people side of things. We work with a bustling family business that provides clean work, fair pay, and hope to hundreds of employees and cooperative owners around Peru. Wife and husband team Elsa and Javier of Lima walk the talk of fair trade. Employees and coop owners and their children are truly like family and are treated as such.

elsa-javier

Blog1

 

The final remedy to Fast Fashion is what we like to call “Forever in Fashion.” Style that transcends the slavish fashion world, colors of the year, and the latest Must Have This or That. (Must have says who?) Styles that will look as great today as they will a few years from now. And that will wash and wear long enough to prove it. Landfills take note.

 

So farewell, Fast Fashion. It’s time for something slower, more meaningful, and satisfying. A long-term relationship with our clothes.

 

 

 

The Keyboards to Success

You’ve made a big difference – thank you! 

kids

The start of a new school year at Serapis School in Cajamarca, Peru brought a welcome surprise to students returning from break – a computer lab equipped with six computers, two printers and a projector! A celebration including a ribbon cutting ceremony was met with cheers as the 45 students attending Serapis couldn’t wait to get their little fingers on the keyboards and mice and begin learning skills that will help them succeed in our technology-dependent world.

Cutting-the-ribbon

The computer equipment was a gift from Elsa and Javier, our partners in Lima, Peru, who make our Joobles and Fair Indigo Organic Knits. Javier explained the motivation behind the gift: “para que los niños aprendan a usarlas y por fin pueden ingresar al siglo 21…for children to learn to use and at long last enter the 21st century.”

collage

The Fair Indigo Foundation has partnered with Elsa and Javier to support Serapis, an elementary school in the high Andes of northern Peru. Before Javier and his brother started the school, children had to walk several miles down the mountain to the nearest school, resulting in well-under-potential attendance and graduation rates. The Foundation helps support the school by providing funds for teachers’ salaries, school supplies and books, and building improvements including indoor bathrooms. The Foundation is funded by $5 donations at checkout and the support of Fair Indigo.

This is huge! After getting electricity installed last year, having computers and projectors is a major leap forward in these kids’ and this community’s lives. Thank you!

Funny Hats

IMG_0809

Without doubt, an essential part of a good education is…fun! On our last visit to our adopted school in Cajamarca, Peru, fun was in abundant supply.

If you’re not familiar, the Fair Indigo Foundation (learn more here) supports education in the communities where our products are made – including here in this remote and economically challenging region of Peru. Prior to the Serapis School opening, the kids in this area had little opportunity to attend school at all – the nearest school being several miles down the mountain, on foot.

The Foundation – funded wholly by $5 donations at checkout – is able to fund salaries for teachers at the school and, in 2014 helped provide electricity and clean drinking water for the first time.

On this trip, our co-benefactors, Elsa and Javier decided it was time to sprout some new smiles after a year of weightier accomplishments. The wife and husband team run the facility where many of our products are made and also donate to the school each year. The kids here mainly wear clothes made at home, so Elsa decided to knit up some silly hats – this type of whimsical design is not easily found in this area.

IMG_0369IMG_0805IMG_0806

The results? Well the pictures speak for themselves.

Screen Shot 2016-05-11 at 6.04.48 PMScreen Shot 2016-05-11 at 6.14.27 PM

Every child at the school received a hat and every hat became that much more adorable paired with a smile.

We were also honored to meet some of the parents of the children for the first time. While they appreciated the hats well enough, their gratitude for the school was brimming. Said one proud mother, Mayu, “With this school, my dreams have come true. I never thought I could give my daughters education, but here is a miracle on this mountain.”

Screen Shot 2016-05-11 at 6.33.55 PM

 

The joys of a long term relationship

Americans are buying five times more apparel than we did in 1980 – a staggering 80 billion new items every year. Even more eye-opening: after a few wearings, many of these pieces head straight to a landfill – to the tune of 82 pounds of textiles annually for every man, woman and child in the country. Staggeringly brutal to the planet.

But – happily – a growing number of people are turning away from “fast fashion” to the philosophy of “quality over quantity”and the sort of clothing we offer here.

We usually start with pure organic pima cotton from a family farm on the coastal plains of Ica, Peru – hands down among the finest, softest, strongest cotton on earth.

Story-NewExpo2v2

Most of our fabrics are pre-washed at the fabric stage (not the garment stage). This time-consuming step is not common in the industry, but it insures that not only are styles pre-shrunk, they will also avoid much of the puckering that can happen around the seams with repeated washes where threads shrink differently than fabric.

And pima cotton is long-staple, meaning it will endure for years, yes years of enthusiastic use without pilling.

But ethical clothing can’t stop with a reverence for Mother Earth. We live by the mantra “we’re all in this together” which is why we work with a bustling family business that provides clean work, fair pay, and hope to hundreds of employees and cooperative owners around Peru.

Blog1

The final ingredient for ethical clothing is “forever in fashion” style that transcends the slavish fashion world, colors of the year, and the latest Must Have This or That. Styles that will look as great today as they will a few years from now. Landfills take note.

Blog2

You can have a satisfying long-term relationship with what you wear and take pride in what it stands for: timeless style, ethical production, and a deeper beauty that lasts and lasts.

Shop Slow Fashion

The True Cost (movie)

The True Cost is a documentary film about the impact of fashion on people and the planet. Filmed in countries all over the world, from the brightest runways to the darkest corners of urban slums. The True Cost invites us on an eye opening journey around the globe and into the lives of the many people and places behind the clothing we wear.

Watching a movie like this can be very dispiriting – sometimes we at Fair Indigo feel like a laryngitis patient at a rock concert trying to spread the word about fair trade organic clothing. But if we all do our little part, piece by piece, garment by garment, we can make a difference.

The film will be released on May 29th, in the meantime watch the trailer below: