Eight years ago today, tragedy struck in Bangladesh. A tragedy that should never have happened. An eight-story garment factory, known as Rana Plaza collapsed, killing 1134 workers, and injuring thousands of others. This tragedy is just one example of the many problems with the mainstream fashion industry. From rampant pollution and dangerous working conditions, to child labor and poor wages, this industry has rightfully earned its reputation for perpetuating modern-day slavery.
As a consumer, you don’t have to participate in this industry. There is another way.
Here at HumanKind, all of our apparel (and every single product in our shop) is made by skilled adults who are earning fair wages, are part of empowering workplaces, and never have to risk their safety in order to provide for their families. As a fair trade enterprise, we do business vastly different from the big box retailers. We don’t focus on the bottom line. We don’t have shareholders demanding greater profits. In fact, we don’t even have an owner who depends on our profits. As a nonprofit, we are here simply to keep purchasing goods from the makers who depend on our orders and we aim to connect you, our customers, with these talented people.
Recently, our commitment to fair trade was put to the test.
While we here in the US are seeing a light at the end of the pandemic tunnel, the story is very different for our producers around the world. Vaccines are slow to arrive in many developing countries, and cases are spiking, particularly in parts of Asia.
One of our newest fair trade partners, Tonle, employs women in Phnom Penh, Cambodia where they just entered a new lock down. Of course, this means that their workshop is closed and the gorgeous apparel we ordered cannot be produced. But Tonle is committed to paying workers’ salaries during this time. When they reached out to us about this situation, we agreed to pay for our order now even though the apparel won’t arrive for another month or more. We are able to be part of the reason that these makers in Cambodia can get paid even when they can’t work. (Read more about Tonle's situation here.)
Oh, and the apparel we will be receiving from them? It is beautifully crafted, zero waste, and made from remnant fabric from garment factories. It is gorgeous and will be worth the wait. We promise.