We know many of our customers love the jewellery we stock from Just Trade. Their designs are perfect for our shop, and the projects they work with are a true inspiration, keeping traditional skills and crafts alive while offering opportunities to disadvantaged groups in India, Peru and Ecuador.
It really lifted my spirits to see this fantastic photo of Ali Cave, the Operations Director at Just Trade.
Ali is pictured loading a huge order which Just Trade received from Laura Ashley, one of the best-known names in terms of interior design on the British High Street. Laura Ashely have bought stock to go into all 200 of their stores in the UK, as well as it going to their Japanese franchise.
Ali told me, "They have ordered across all three projects we work with. So crochet from Peru, Tagua from Ecuador and Brass from India. The work really helped our producers get back on their feet after the earthquake in Ecuador."
You might think it's a bit odd that I'm getting so excited about seeing one of our core product ranges being distributed to another shop, which might be seen as a competitor of ours. But for us at Eighteen Rabbit, this is exactly what we're all about! We don't want to be pigeonholed simply as a "fair trade shop" to be treated in the same way as a charity shop. Our mission from the very beginning has been to take fair trade into the mainstream - to attract customers who simply love the products we sell. Ultimately, as we're fond of saying, we want to make "fair trade" obsolete - what we're doing should be the norm, rather than the virtuous exception.
Huge congratulations from all of us here at Eighteen Rabbit to Ali and the team for all their hard work. Look out for Just Trade products in Laura Ashley stores from October, and remember where you saw them first - you can be ahead of the curve by ordering your favourite from us today!
Today sees the start of Fashion Revolution Week. The event kicked off with a special Fashion Question Time event at the houses of parliament and activities will continue through the week leading towards Fashion Revolution Day on Sunday 24th April - the anniversary of the Rana Plaza disaster in Bangladesh. We have blogged about this extensively in the past, but it's telling that at today's event when Livia Firth was asked what has changed in the industry since Rana Plaza, her reply was - "not much."
Fashion Revolution is an opportunity to make people think differently and it begins with a simple question - who made your clothes? The answers to that question will tell you a lot about how important it is to get this right. Fashion Revolution uses the power of social media to challenge brands directly to increase transparency within the industry. There are great resources and tips which you can download from the website, so it's well worth a look.
By joining forces we can make our voices heard more clearly. No-one should have to suffer, be maimed or even killed, just so we can save a few quid on a pair of jeans. It's up to us whether we face up to our responsibilities or look the other way.