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

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!

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:

More colors, please!

Crayons

One of the most common requests we get is this: Please offer more colors, especially in your organic basics.

I hear you! It’s so fun to see a rainbow of colors to choose from in your go-to styles. To offer our best selling scoop neck tee in 20 colors – it’s the stuff dreams are made of around here!

The simple answer is this: We’re too small to offer that many colors. Let me explain what that means.

• When we first design a style we have to estimate how many pieces we will sell. Let’s say it’s 200 pieces for this example.

• If we offer it in 4 colors, that’s 50 pieces per color.

• Divide that by 5 sizes and we’re now at an average of 10 pieces per color/size combo (or in retail lingo, 10 pieces per SKU).

• So if we wanted to offer this style in 6 colors instead of 4 (I’ll do the math for you), now we’re down to 6 pieces per SKU.

• With numbers that low, it’s hard to keep stock on all sizes & colors. So the fewer colors offered, the easier it is to stay in stock. A bona fide balancing act.

The second reason relates to fabric dyeing minimums. Even though our partners in Peru are small businesses like us, they have to order at least 120kg per color per fabric to meet the dye vat minimums. There isn’t yet a “micro dye house” industry in Peru. 120kg is enough to make about 500 garments. So each new color we add means we have to add 500 more units to our order across however many styles that color comes in. No problem if we’re adding a color or two, but not feasible if we wanted to offer a dozen or more colors.

Spectrum
But we are getting better! I’m excited we’re offering our widest color assortment ever this fall. Thanks to you (i.e. increasing sales).

The real answer – we need to sell way more than 200 pieces on every style we sell. If we could do that, this would be a non-issue. So tell your friends! More sales = more colors offered = more lives uplifted with clean, safe, & fair apparel making.