Futureproof Fashion - The Accessory Brands That Are Going Fair Trade

By Suzanne Vallance

The accessory brands that are going fair trade.

The accessory brands that are going fair trade.

Every fashionista can practically preach on how accessories and jewelry can completely take an outfit to the next level. It's beautiful, easy to access, and pretty much a border line necessity. But what else?

We often take for granted where some of the beautiful jewelry comes from, especially if we are buying it online or in a department store.

Third world countries rely on our investment in fine jewelry.  Across the world, small-scale mining employs about 30 million miners and 100 million people depend on it for their livelihoods. Let’s find out more about designers who are using fair trade materials in their products.

Going for Gold: Fair Trade Jewelry

Let's start with a little history. Fair trade gold was first launched back in 2011 in the UK closely followed by Australia, New Zealand, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Ireland, Luxembourg, Netherlands, South Korea and Sweden. 

In 2014, The Fair trade Foundation launched a new scheme for small jewelers, goldsmiths, silversmiths and artists which supported them in the use of ethically sourced Fair trade gold and silver.

Reena Agarwal, Commercial Account Manager for Fair trade gold said: 'The Fair trade Foundation recognizes that the vast majority of the jewelry trade rests in the hands of the small jewelers, and this scheme sends a clear signal to the entire market that small is beautiful. Collectively small jewelers have the power to transform the national market through this scheme, so we are encouraging goldsmiths from across the country to register and help Fair trade to transform the lives of marginalized artisanal and small scale miners through the power of their creativity.'

Designers are finally beginning to take an interest in the traceability and origin of their gold. The rise in popularity for fair-trade gold began back in 2014. Award winning jewelers started to choose gold from Fair trade certified mines in South America. Designer Ute Decker who uses the Fair trade gold in her designs, says that by investing in a piece of fair-trade jewelry it “enriches each piece with an additional layer of story and meaning.”

Victoria Waugh, the Fair trade Foundation’s commercial lead for gold agrees and has said that  “It’s clear that for the UK’s top jewelry designers, knowing the source of their materials is important and it is great that so many of them are keen to purchase Fair trade gold.  They are setting a precedent in the sector by proving that it is possible for businesses to provide their customers with gold from traceable and responsibly managed sources.”

Ethical Jewelry Production

There are lots of accessory designers ensuring that their products are made in a fair environment. Made are a fashion brand that produce fair trade jewelry, accessories and leather goods and from their workshop in Kenya.

Made create unique pieces which are hand crafted by “highly skilled, dedicated artisans”. Hard work and traditional craftsmanship is instilled in every product and the work which is produced glows with the enthusiasm of the hands that made that piece it.

Centuries of jewelry making techniques are used on our jewellery and bags. Made products not only sell on retail platforms like ASOS but they represent more than just fashion. By investing in a Made piece you are giving your contribution to sustainable employment, training and education

Made believe that investing in their employees means that they will get the best quality of product as possible. The Made workshop in Kenya was founded in 2005 and started with the vision to utilise the talent and skills of artisans in Kenya.

Made Provide a safe working environment and long-term job security with training to their employees. Currently they employ 60 men and women who create stunning, original and highly desirable accessories.

Engage with Fair Trade Produce

Ring Resizing Service, Repairs by Post have seen an increase in Fair trade jewelry repair: “It is wonderful to see more of our customer investing in ethical jewelry design, it has definitely gained popularity in recent years, especially in engagement rings.”

Are you looking for a ring which comes from a fair trade origin? Cred Jewellery are partners with Fair Jewelry Action and create pieces with a purpose. Cred Jewellery fight against the “untold tale of exploitation” behind the mainstream jewelry industry.

Finding an engagement ring from a fair trade background can be pretty hard as both the diamond and the gold should be sourced ethically. Cred Jewellery engagement rings are designed with Fair trade gold or recycled platinum, and are set with conflict-free diamonds.

It is important to Cred Jewellery to promote the work of artisanal and small-scale miners produce just 15% of 90% of global labour in metal extraction. The brand ensure that ever stone used in their rings is ethically sourced and responsibly mined.

By investing in a fair trade piece you are delivering economic justice to all the people involved in its extraction and production. Quality and care is important to Cred Jewellery as each conflict-free ring set by the Kimberley Process is are sourced through global organizations that bring you the best quality stones, straight from the source.

Remember by investing in a piece of fair trade jewelry you are investing your money into valuable projects and standing up against unfair labor. Under fair trade association, child and forced labor is prohibited and Fair trade monitoring does not tolerate it in their work places.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Suzanne Vallance is a writer from Glasgow, Scotland. Her roots are in Fashion and with this, she has carved a career writing in the jewellery and accessories industry

Suzanne Vallance | @suzannevallance

Suzanne Vallance | @suzannevallance