This post is in collaboration with my friends at Made Trade.
With the increasing popularity of ethical, sustainable and fair trade fashion, more and more brands are looking to capitalize on consumer demand for products that are good for people and planet. It seems that every day, I have several emails in my inbox of new ethical brands or product lines.
While I believe most brands are truly seeking to do good for the planet, there are still many out there making dubious ethical claims to try to capitalize on well-intentioned shoppers. And, it can be difficult to tell the difference because of the lack of transparency in the fashion industry.
According to Greenpeace, “Corporations are falling all over themselves to demonstrate that they are environmentally conscious. The average citizen is finding it more and more difficult to tell the difference between those companies genuinely dedicated to making a difference and those that are using a green curtain to conceal dark motives.”
Made Trade is an ethical fashion marketplace committed to transparency. Founders Cayley and Andy have been committed to the fair trade movement since 2005. Cayley’s passion for fair trade brought her to Europe, the Middle East and South Asia, working with diverse communities for women’s and girls’ empowerment initiatives, and Andy has spent his entire career in product development and marketing. They founded Made Trade to make exceptionally made, ethically sourced products more easily accessible while also helping social enterprises tell their stories and increase their impact.
All of the brands available on Made Trade adhere to one or more of Made Trade’s five core values:
- Sustainable: Made with earth-friendly materials that are responsibly harvested or upcycled;
- Fair trade: Handmade by artisans adhering to fair labor practices;
- Heritage: Crafted by hand using traditional techniques;
- USA-Made: Made by U.S. makers;
- Vegan: Free of animal materials and animal byproducts.
Made Trade is also in the process of launching two new additional values: Women-Owned and POC-Owned.
With more choices than ever when it comes to sustainable style, Made Trade empowers consumers to shop for ethical goods with confidence.
Each business they partner with goes through a thorough screening process. Made Trade reviews fair labor practices, sustainability initiatives, the brand’s impact on traditional art forms or commitment to reviving age-old, earth-friendly industries that are in decline before listing their products on their website.
Founder Cayley was recently featured on the Conscious Chatter podcast, and you can learn more about her story and vision for Made Trade here. You can also give them a follow on Instagram to learn more!
I recently had the opportunity to try the gorgeous Marbella Clutch by one of Made Trade’s partner brands, Salt + Umber, pictured above. The brand fits Made Trade’s values of being fair trade, heritage and women-owned.
Salt + Umber‘s products are made in small batches in India and they use only Sedex Members Ethical Trade Audit (SMETA) -approved factories. Sedex is a platform that allows brands to manage their performance data around labor rights, health and safety, the environment and business ethics, and SMETA is one of the most widely used social audit procedures in the world.
Salt + Umber also integrates a micro-loan initiative into their production process to directly benefit the women that hand weave their shoes and bags.
I’ve styled this bag a few different ways since receiving it, but my favorite has been how it looks with this crisp and minimal summer outfit.
This is a great little clutch. In addition to adding textural, visual interest to a minimal outfit, it also holds the perfect amount of things!
With a lot of clutches, I find I have to empty my wallet and let my cards and cash float around my bag. My wallet fits perfectly across the bottom of this clutch – it’s your standard long wallet (versus the smaller, square ones). Hooray! Beyond that, I can also fit my iPhone 7+, keys, lipstick and even a few other small items here and there before the bag looks too full.
I love the sweet pom pom details, and the wood handle offers a beautiful contrast with the macrame.
It’s also insanely good quality – when it got delivered, I wasn’t home for two days and my package sat outside in a torrential rainstorm. I swear, you can’t make it up. When I finally got home and opened the package, the bag was soaking wet yet still beautiful! So, I suppose it would make a great accessory for a beach vacation, though I of course don’t recommend getting it soaking wet like yours truly did (LOL!)
Besides this clutch, there are several other items I’m loving from Made Trade‘s expertly-curated marketplace:
- This Bloom & Give Natural Cotton Scarf;
- These Polaris Earrings by Altar (such a stunning statement item!);
- This Milo and Nicki top that can double as a skirt for an extra-functional piece.
Are you familiar with Made Trade? If not, are you excited about being able to shop for ethically-made goods all in once place?