For the fashion industry, it's been a very good week so far. On Monday, The Garment Worker Protection Act (SB62) was signed into California law! It means 45,000 garment workers in California will earn (at least) minimum wage. Holding brands accountable.
This campaign shows that collective citizen power is real. The SB62 victory is giving fire to the textile industry. More on it at the bottom of this issue.
Also, we learn about Fairtrade and what it means in the context of fashion. And we look at the gorgeous textile brand AIAYU. A Danish brand that specialises in knitwear and organic clothing. They believe how a product is made is just as important as how it looks — and we agree!
Focus · Fairtrade
First up — there's a difference between fair trade and Fairtrade. A product can be classed as fair trade when it meets certain standards of an independent fair trade organisation. Fairtrade on the other hand is an international certification for fair trade (🤪) and a widely recognised ethical label. We'll focus on this one.
Fairtrade International is a non-profit certification that puts the farmers and workers first. Aiming to change the way trade works. Better prices, better working conditions and better deals for workers in developing countries.
To become Fairtrade certified — you'll be measured on economic, environmental and social criteria. Fairtrade is 50% owned by the workers themselves. To help give them an equal say in the decision making. Fairtrade covers a wide variety of products like coffee, sugar, and of course textiles.
The Fairtrade Textile Standard covers people at all stages of production. From cotton seed to finished garments. The label guarantees that:
- Workers are paid living wages
- Workers have freedom of association to unionize
- Workplaces are safe
- Working hours and contracts are regulated
Spotlight · AIAYU
Let's get the pronunciation out of the way — [ai-ya-yu]. It means 'soul' in an indigenous language from Bolivia. The founder Maria Høgh Heilmann fell in love with Bolivian craftsmanship and decided to build a sustainable textile brand on this idea.
The story goes back to 2005 when AIAYU launched its first collection of knitwear sourced from traditional, small family farms in the Bolivian highlands. Their focus is true craftsmanship and a Scandinavian style. With majority organic cotton and knitted clothing for women — with a growing number of men's clothes.
They make their clothing in Bolivia, India and Nepal with a strong connection to the origin of the materials. Their suppliers in India are 100% GOTS certified. And the majority are also certified by SA8000. Their Bolivian supplier is WRAP certified, and their Nepalese supplier is in the process of getting the SA8000 certification.
With their Zero Waste initiative, they reuse organic cotton scraps to make clothing labels, tags and one-off items. Profits from this programme are donated to a local Indian school for disabled children.