In fair trade circles, the talk today is often about the willfully ignorant. In the article do-these-jeans-make-me-look-unethical, Nurith Azenman explores the human psyche behind decisions such as fair trade purchases. "The study, which will be published in the July edition of the Journal of Consumer Psychology but is already available online, builds on earlier research suggesting that most shoppers experience a kind of ethical dissonance: If we're actually told that a specific product was produced in an unethical way, we won't want to buy it. Yet given the choice, most of us would rather not know the backstory.
Shopping at fair trade stores, online on Fair Trade sites or even at big box stores that have a fair trade section, allows consumers to make a conscious decision about how they want to spend their money. As the movement grows, so does the number and styles of products one can find that are also treat producers fairly. What was once only a term applied to coffee, cocoa and olive farmers has blossomed into hundreds of gifts in the forms of clothing, housewares, jewelry and food. Fair trade networks work hard to solidify a transparent and sustainable relationship which often means encouraging styles and colors that appeal to different audiences, both in the US and overseas. Don't fall for the misconception that fair trade means bohemian or ethnic. Fair trade products can be every bit as stylish as any non fair trade items.
This is not to say that anything and everything can be found to be produced fairly - I wish! But when you can buy something that has supported artisans in lesser developed countries, why not do so? You can't change the world overnight, but your purchase truly MAKES A DIFFERENCE in someone's world.