For me, sourcing global textiles is about more than collecting beautiful fabric - it is a way to support communities. It is often difficult to find the true origin of a textile, how it was made and by who. I do my best to research the legitimacy of the vendors I work with. I have to tell you that in my short time doing this I have already gotten swindled! But I learn my lessons and carry on. I want to be transparent with you about the vendors, by making sure each tote bag notes where the fabric came from. You will see the vendor listed in the description of each item.
My education in international development, and most importantly my own family’s journey, immigrating to the USA from Mexico, leaves no question in my mind that I need to use fabric that supports the cultures it represents.
For my mother and her two kids, leaving Mexico City to come to the USA, involved a train ride and a borrowed sum of $100 USD. I know first-hand the desperation of a mother seeking a job to support her family. Our family received a lot of help from kind strangers, charities and the government, but what made the most permanent impact on our lives, was completing our education and obtaining stable jobs.
Help is needed when you are finding your feet, but in my opinion, one way to support long-lasting change is to give people the means to support themselves.
I realize that this does not apply to all people, some will need extra support or will not be able to benefit for a variety of reasons. To start this journey, I will focus on what I know has worked for me, and learn from there.
A fair trade shop I love, Colores Del Pueblo, recently wrote a post on why fair trade is more important now than ever: