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Why should fair trade matter to me?

Why should fair trade matter to me?

"So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them." Genesis 1:27

This verse gives us insight into the profound truth that our Creator made each of us to reflect His image. Every person in every nation was made uniquely by God for a purpose. You may be asking, “What does this have to do with fair trade, and why should it matter to me?”

Lindsey Smith, of Knight Eady and formerly Theological Coordinator at Proverbs 31 Ministries, shares her story about why she made the switch from shopping “fast-fashion” to shopping fair trade and ethical brands.

Mirroring Jesus

Lindsey is passionate about honoring the Lord through her purchases. Since we all bear Christ’s image, we have the opportunity to mirror Him. Lindsey shares,

“We are all made in His image. And the things that I was doing, while they were good for my pocket-book, they weren’t good in the way that I was allowing negative things to happen to other people who are image-bearers of Christ as well. In a way, I was treating people like a commodity. It’s hard to say, but I wasn’t thinking about the person behind the sewing machine or the person that was actually making the products.”

When we choose to think about these individuals and act accordingly, we are able to honor God and mirror Jesus in a way that can be seen by all.

Lindsey recognized that “there is a problem with fast-fashion.” Cheap labor and dangerous working conditions are behind fast-fashion. In contrast, ethically made products are the currency of fair trade and people are at the heart. The artisans who make fair trade items work for a fair wage in healthy, thriving environments. Lindsey shares, “When I dress in clothes that have been made by people in factories that are well-taken care of, I feel like I’m contributing to the common good.”

Sharing significant stories

Shopping fair trade can be expensive, but Lindsey has learned that the benefits far outweigh the costs. “I see it not just as clothing for myself, but as a way that I am able to contribute to someone else’s livelihood, so that makes it totally worth the added expense,” Lindsey explains. Since she has become more conscious of her purchasing decisions, she has been able to share her experience with others. She loves that fair trade products all have a significant story behind them.

In the past, when a friend complimented her on her clothing, she would say something like, “I bought it off the $5 rack at T.J. Maxx!” After making the switch to fair trade, her stories look quite different. “I love to tell the stories of the things that I purchase. It’s fun to share about the men and women who are making the items,” Lindsey says. 

Lindsey not only shops fair trade clothing… She also purchases tasteful accessories like Karama’s leather Addis Tote made by our talented artisans in Ethiopia. “I use my Karama bag every day. It gets better and better with age!”

Small changes, big difference

At Karama, the artisans with partner with are paid a reasonable price in exchange for their lovely, handmade products. The meaning behind Karama’s name is “dignity”, and we fight to preserve that basic human right as we expose the talents of our many artisans, alleviating poverty one artisan and one small business at a time.

Like Lindsey, Karama loves fair trade because we also value people who make the products. Join us in supporting fellow image-bearers of Christ across the globe! As Lindsey says, Even small changes - they make a difference." When you choose to shop fair trade, you are making this difference in someone’s life, and to that person, the impact is not small - it is everything.

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