Making Fair Trade Fashionable

August 30, 2012

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When Maureen Dunn started her Mata Traders, a vintage-inspired, artisan-made Indian imports business, she was excited and thrilled about bringing beautiful eastern textiles and jewelry to Chicago. Business was good.

And then one day, someone asked her, “Are your products Fair Trade?” Dunn stared blankly at the asker, because she had no idea what that meant. 

Eager to find out, Dunn—who frequents India five to six weeks a year—began to explore the exploitive factories mass producing for sellers here in the United States.  When she came across a Fair Trade cooperative whose workers were all women she knew what was next.

Today, all of Mata Traders’ clothing and jewelry is made exclusively through Fair Trade Cooperatives and each item sold is employing, educating and empowering the women who make them.