Posts Tagged ‘Fair Trade’

Fall Trends 2014

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014

Cozy sweaters! Yummy scarves! The coolest boots! Fall is arriving, ladies. The trends are fun and wearable, especially with Mata Traders to back you up… ;)

#1.  Animal Accents

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 Animals of all kinds were embroidered and printed onto every type of garment (as seen above on Dolce & Gabbana, Stella Jean, and Markus Lupfer). Of course, Mata’s rendition is the absolute cutest; “The Buck Stops Here Skirt” is printed with deer silhouettes and is absolutely twirlable.

#2.  Western

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It started with fringe and went into full-on western frontier. And, since I love a good brimmed hat, I am completely on board with this trend. Get some inspiration above with Cushnie Et Ochs, Kenneth Cole, and Tibi. Mata’s “Hello Dolly Dress” works perfectly with western-inspired hat and boots. Actually, most of Mata’s prints and silhouettes for fall pair seamlessly with western accessories! Which brings me to the next trend….

#3.  Shearling

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Shearling is a great option for warmth and guess what? Mata’s dresses layer perfectly underneath a fluffy shearling coat or vest! The “Fan Fair Dress” is my top pick to layer up. This mix of pattern + texture is a match made in heaven. It’s another trend that I L-O-V-E and really plays along with the western trend. (Pictures above are from Etro, Isabel Marant, Tommy Hilfiger.)

#4.  60s Mod

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I like a nod to mod. As seen on numerous runways (and above from Giccu and Louis Vuitton), your fall just got a little more swingin’. Mata gives you a similar silhouette with the “Memory Lane Dress” and if you pair the “New Hampshire Skirt” with tall boots and a slim sweater you have got the look down pat!

#5.  Loafers

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Think menswear. It’s always nice to thrown in that unexpected piece with Mata’s feminine dresses. I think the loafer gives you an instant ‘cool girl’ feel.  And (hooray!) they are so comfortable! Elizabeth & James and Band of Outsiders sent loafers down the runway, along with many others. Mata showed loafers with a number of looks in the Fall catalog, like the “Runs In Rows Dress” above.

The Fall shows were no disappointment. I always love to see what new trends are appearing and then incorporate them into my own style. I wanted to say that my favorite trend was Western, but those shearling pieces are giving me hearts in my eyes, too! Do you have any favorites this season?

xoLaura

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Blogger Style: Come Rain or Shine

Monday, May 19th, 2014

“Have you ever put something on and felt it was made just for you?” asks fair trade fashionista Shannon, ’cause that’s how she felt in our Rain or Shine dress!
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When a faux wrap top meets a high waisted skirt, it just makes the most desirable silhouette if you ask me. And as you’ll see in this post, there are plentiful options to dress it up or down. I love the striped fold over clutch matching the dress to a T.

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The dainty yellow umbrellas on top bring a touch of whimsy and cheer, even to rainy days! Shannon says, “the quality of the stitching and fabric is just amazing.” Why, thank you, Shannon, it’s a handwoven fabric and a hand screen printed pattern. See that whole process here – Your Handmade Garment from Start to Finish.

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Don’t fear spring showers! Shannon is stylin’ with her big Roma boots.

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With pointy heels and a ruffled blazer, the Rain or Shine dress is perfect work attire! Although, the funky shoulder bag is saying, I’m not all business. Thanks so much, Shannon, for your inspirational remix of the Rain or Shine dress, a dress for all occasions. See Shannon’s original post here and stay tuned for more Blogger Style posts coming up!

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Kendra’s Challenge – Ethical Style

Monday, May 5th, 2014

Travel expert Kendra Thornton has a challenge a lot of us can relate to; day-to-day a busy lady and mom of three, she needs the perfect outfit for a night of fun on a trip to New York City! We put together two style boards that would work perfectly for a night out with her friends. Most importantly, both outfits are from fair trade, ethical, and eco-friendly brands. Conscious spending is the best spending!

In Kendra’s words, here’s what she was looking for:

A European Experience In New York

“There is a trip to New York in my near future. I plan to wine and dine the night away, but I need a stunning outfit that will make me feel glamorous and comfortable at the same time. There truly is nothing better than a stay at one of the best hotels in New York City. If you haven’t had the pleasure, I highly recommend it. The location of the restaurant is the Dream New York Hotel. I won’t have to walk far, so I can wear heels that have a little height. My outfit needs to be something flattering while still being modest because I am a mother. I am anxiously awaiting your ideas so that my friends and I can have a wonderful evening!

The restaurant that I have chosen to dine at is called Courgette. Food on the menu, as well as the décor, is inspired by northern Europe. While sitting in the restaurant, we can see Times Square as it is only a few steps away. This is somewhere we can sit and relax from the hustle and bustle of the busy city. The inside of the restaurant has been transformed into a magical environment that will make us feel like we are in a garden. Brick is exposed in the walls to give a rustic feel. One of the areas that I can’t wait to see is the bistro and bar. While enjoying a drink, we will see cutting boards that are adorned with olives and other ingredients that are often used in the drinks. Honeysuckle is planted between the bricks, and the dark lights illuminate the blooms elegantly. The specials of the day line the walls in a playful fashion as there are newspapers that also line the walls. This restaurant is somewhere that will take us to the heart of Europe without us leaving the country!

New York offers more than just fine food and wine. It is a place of entertainment and has a certain style that makes you feel like you are a world away. Dream New York Hotel is one of the best in the city, if not the state. While there, I want to have the perfect outfit so that I can have the best time possible.”

Sounds a like a spectacular night, right? Escaping real life for a trip to New York would be quite an adventure, so here’s our first style suggestion for Kendra:

 

Fair Trade, Marketplace

Our hand block printed blue Marketplace dress is great to dance the night away with her girls while still looking elegant. The neckline and trim around the bottom is hand embroidered, and the dress even has hidden pockets! Adding the Golden Echelon necklace gives her a touch of class, and the gold Threaded Arrow earrings bring some color into the jewelry mix. Our Medici Wrap bracelet has the look of wearing multiple bracelets, but all it takes is a simple wrap around the wrist.  The flirty, fun Dusty Blue Clutch from Malia Designs will have Kendra carrying her essentials in style! Topping off this look are Clarks Artisan Wessex Shav shoes from eco-conscious Planet Shoes.

Up next, a second look for Kendra:

Fair Trade, Glam Noir Dress

Our Glam Noir dress, with ikat polka dots and contrasting lace trim, has elastic smocking in the back for a flattering fit. Pairing the dress with our red Darling Doily earrings makes a statement that’ll have people staring, while the silver Chaise bracelet and the silver Curly ring bring in a touch of sophistication. Add some bling with a unique purse made of recycled pop tops, from Bio Imaginarte. To polish off the outfit, why not step into some ankle booties from Planet Shoes again? 

Don’t forget that you can dress for a party or a night with the girls, look glamorous, and still shop fair trade, ethical brands. We hope your trip is fun, Kendra!

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Spring 2014 Trends

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

I’ve been counting down the days of winter and now that the snow has cleared (in most places, sorry Chicago), I’m ready for spring fashion! Here are some of the top trends for spring that I’ll be incorporating into my looks:

Quirky Prints

Quirky prints

Designers really spoiled us with great prints for spring and the quirkier the better. Prints this year are a little bolder, a little bigger, and way more exciting! Mui Mui’s cat print (shown right) is a perfect example. Give this trend a whirl with the houses print in Mata’s Starboard Dress (shown left). I say go big or go home: stack on those baubles and wear cute socks peeking out of your shoes.

Pastels

Pastels

The trend on everybody’s lips for spring is pastel. Designers sent loads of light and airy colors down the runway. I love the frostier pastels, like the Study Abroad Skirt (shown left) from Mata in a minty blue-green. Pair it with an open knit sweater and chunky leather belt at the waist. Or go full-on confection and pair it with a top in a different shade of pastel! It’s always important to have fun with it! Tadashi Shoji (shown right) + many more designers gave us some fresh pastel looks that inspire.

Button Down Shirts

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I love this trend – you can wear this look in so many different ways and really make it your own! Mata gives us the Tied & True Top (shown left) with a bow at the neck for a fantastic feminine twist. I am looking forward to wearing this trend in a “menswear” fashion with wide leg trousers, loafers, and a big watch on my wrist. Victoria Beckham showed crisp oxford tops, as did as Alexander Wang, and I love Christian Siriano’s (shown right) styling with a shorts suit!

Peplums

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The return of classic peplum from designers like Kate Spade and Balenciaga (shown right) lend a ladylike feel to spring. Gotta love those peplum skirts…(they hide a multitude of sins, don’t they? ;) ). Try Mata’s flattering Printed Peplum Skirt in red (shown left) or teal with a tucked-in tee and a bold statement necklace to complete the look. This is a “where-did-you-get-that?!” kind of skirt. Trust.

Black & White

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Black & white are still at it! Such a great way to power-dress. I always feel a touch more fierce in black and white, like Coco Chanel. Mata gives you plenty of options to try the trend. Be Audrey Hepburn-classic in the Cape Cod Dress. Or be bold with the Parisian Bookshop Dress (shown left).  Or be casually cool in the World Traveler Dress. The choice is yours! I like to dress up black & white frocks with shiny metallic accessories. Take some tips from Emilio Pucci (shown right) and add pops of color (like royal blue and orange) in with your accessories.

Earth Tones

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This is one of my fave trends this season. From nude to mossy green to khaki, neutral, earthy tones are a refreshing break from the bolder trends. Michael Kors (shown right), Valentino, and more showed chic earthen looks. Sometimes it’s the simple things that stand out the most! Pretend you are on a safari with Mata’s Pen Pal Skirt in taupe (shown left) paired with a khaki green top. Top it off with gold and tan accessories.

Happy end of winter, you guys! Here’s to a whole new season of wonderful things!!

xoLaura
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Blogger Style: Lifestyle Justice

Friday, December 27th, 2013

The Moonrise dress must be a blogger fave because Hannah from Lifestyle Justice is styling it, too.  She has been a long-time Mata fan and promotes lots of fair trade on her blog – everything from food to her wedding (where her bridesmaids wore our Colaba bracelet and Palaise earrings).

If you’re looking for something to brighten your dreary winter day, this is the dress.  Or as Hannah puts it, ”It’s like wearing a piece of the sky.”

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‘Tis the season to be festive, so Hannah adds some holiday cheer with red tights – a striking contrast to the blue dress.  Paired with a leather jacket and cute floral sash, you have a perfect party outfit.

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Hannah’s from Minnesota, so she knows how to layer, wearing a faux fur scarf and fingerless gloves from Breaking Free Boutique, a company that supports survivors of sex trafficking, and tall boots with knee socks peeking out.

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Don’t wear white after Labor Day?  Nah!  Hannah’s look is just right for a winter wonderland if you ask me, and I adore the tan tasseled loafers.  She also adds our Summer’s End necklace to the ensamble, which I think brings a little more depth to the green-blue color scheme.

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You can find Hannah’s original post as well as some others about fair trade and ethical companies over on her blog.

Thanks for reading! A few more blogger style posts are on the way.

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Blogger Style: Shades of Monet in the Sailor Moon

Thursday, December 26th, 2013

Hello again!

Today’s blogger style post is brought to you by Marisa from Shades of Monet, who decided to take our Sailor Moon dress through sun, leaves, snow and blooms. With some simple but edgy styling, she jazzed it up with serious pops of color and seasonal accessories. Take a look at what she’s done with a dress with “endless possibilities,” in her words:

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AUTUMN LOOK – As school starts back up and the leaves begin to fall, I love putting a preppy spin on this piece with a plaid button down underneath, a beret, and a pair of navy tights to keep warm from the cool autumn air.

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WINTER LOOK – I live on the side of a mountain so it’s all about the layers up here. Socks and tights, a wooly hat, a heavy sweater, and warm scarf are where it’s at when the temp hits zero degrees. I love how the neutral gray of the dress lends itself well to pairing with bright colors – especially on a dreary winter day.

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SPRING LOOK – Finally everything is blooming again, so naturally I’m inclined to work florals into this look with a flowery headscarf and lacy rose knee highs that seem very appropriate for the Spring season.

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SUMMER LOOK – Simple just like summer – there are no layers needed because the collar does all the talking here. The dress itself is easy and breezy and perfect to throw on with a pair of flats and a boater hat.

Thanks for sharing Marisa! Please stay tuned for even more blogger style posts!

*All captions in this post are from the original Shades of Monet post, found here.

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Blogger Style: October in the grey Meadow

Sunday, December 15th, 2013

We know, we know. Lotttts of October Rebel this season. But we can’t get enough of her, can you? Today she incorporates elements of nature and some holiday cheer while styling the Meet Me in the Meadow dress.

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meadoe-6As a real-life “Alice in Wonderland,” Anna takes a different approach to a dress that leans a bit to the fancy side, wearing it instead for everyday December activities like putting up Christmas lights, making gingerbread houses, and last minute holiday shopping.

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Her tights match the merlot-colored waistline perfectly, and adding a simple cardi tones down the dress a notch. Keep frolicking in the forest, October! We’re digging it.

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Looking for a way to bundle up while still showcasing your Mata? October added a short pea coat and a classic black beret, then kept the warmth coming with a heavy hunter green/red scarf. Look how the purse and umbrella match, too! (Very Christmas-y.)

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Happy Holidays, everyone!

Check out other Blogger Style posts here, and October Rebel’s original Meet Me in the Meadow remix post here.

*By the way, we’re doing free shipping on all orders over $50 until December 31st. No code needed!

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Blogger Style: October Rebel

Friday, December 13th, 2013

October Rebel is back, working her magic on the Sylvia blouse from our fall collection. To her the blouse says, “I’m little fairy tale, I’m a touch Little House on the Prairie, but I also fit perfectly in a modern wardrobe,” so she showcased the floral print by pairing it with several solid basics, playing off the romance of the tiny floral print and voluminous sleeves.

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With some simple accessories to mirror the subtlety of the blouse, colored tights pull the vibrant purple out of the print.

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A small, tight print can add visual interest without amping up the craziness. It’s perfect for spicing up any LBDs (Little Black OR Little Blue Dresses) you have lying around.

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Comfy, and cute, October Rebel spotlights the blouse by supplementing it with simple black pants and riding boots, rocking some pigtails, and calling it a (fabulous fall) day!

Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for more blogger style posts.

You can read October Rebel’s original post here.

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Blogger Style: Fifth Freedom Fashion

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

Our Saddleback skirt has been a pretty popular style this fall; the grey one is almost sold out!  One of our fave bloggers, Lily, from Fifth Freedom Fashion did a little remix with the Saddleback in blue stripes.  It’s made of a gorgeous, soft fabric which has been handwoven on floor looms. (Follow that link to see video of that process.)

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Lily does a sweet job walking the line between vintage and modern with those updated Mary Janes and that retro grandpa sweater.  Happily, they bring out the bit of creamy taupe in the skirt, too.

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Pairing the skirt with maroon gives a fall jewel-toned vibe to the look.  This picture was taken back in October when it was a little warmer (hence the bare legs).  For winter, add tights and a navy pea coat – and let it snow!

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Love the contrast of the golden yellow top with the maroon tights and boots – a great pop of color for a winter look. Do you see that 3-tiered beaded necklace she’s wearing?  That’s our Dainty Ladder necklace, and the red beads compliment the tights and add just one more subtle layer.

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Layer it up!  This look does just that.  A striped long sleeve under a purple cardigan, under a navy blazer.  Add warmth literally and visually with a bright-colored scarf.

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This pic is from a while ago, but I couldn’t resist reposting. Lily paired our Gatsby necklace with a white lacy top, which totally has a beautiful holiday vibe. It’s on sale for a steal at $12.99, so get it now to pair with your winter wonderland outfits this season and buy an extra as a gift for your best friend!

Thanks for reading! Check out previous blogger style posts & you can see Lily’s original post here.

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Blogger Style: Delightfully Tacky

Friday, December 6th, 2013

When master remixer Elizabeth from the blog, Delightfully Tacky, got a hold of two Mata dresses from our Fall Collection, we couldn’t wait to see what she’d come up with.  We were not disappointed.

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She styled the Young Love dress into three very different, but very fun looks.  Look 1, our purple frock becomes a top paired with a leather skirt – not the first thing you’d think of when styling a dress, but it totally works!  Look 2 adds a sweet lace top and a graphic necklace for something subdued but dressy.  Look 3 goes bold with a geometric cardigan and a bright infusion of color.

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Two Mata dresses is twice as nice!  Elizabeth styled the Moonrise dress in ‘electric prim’ by buttoning up a bright cardigan, belting it, and then adding a bold scarf for a pattern pop.

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The dress looks slouchy-chic with an oversized sweater and a fancy necklace.  Pretty great, right?  We’re a little jealous of her remixabilities!

Thanks for reading, and keep checking back for more blogger style posts.  You can read the original post from Delightfully Tacky here.

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Blogger Style: Shades of Monet in the meadow

Saturday, November 30th, 2013

Ready for another Blogger Style post, our series featuring some of the hippest fashion bloggers we know styling their favorite Mata pieces?

Marisa Noelle from Shades of Monet joins us, styling the Meet me in the Meadow dress for several occasions.  Her looks display her funky style while getting us seriously excited for fall and winter wardrobes!

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Let’s get to work!  Marisa made this dress office-appropriate by adding a blazer, blouse, and lady tie.  Even with the bright floral print, the dress looks professional and pulled together without being plain ol’ boring office-wear.

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Party time!  Nothing says daytime party like a pretty floral dress and a cutie-pie cardigan.  I love the color contrast of the aqua sweater with the pink and orange print; autumnal pastels are on trend this season, very refreshing.  Add a fun and funky pair of shoes and voila – let’s celebrate!

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Coffee Shop Chic.  An easy day-to-day look is a pair of tights, some flats, and a dress with a sweater on top.  Comfy, casual, and cozy for a coffee shop pop-in and then on to conquer the errands of the day.

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Party the night away!  Paired with deeper colors, this dress becomes the perfect party piece, whether it be a wedding or dinner party.  Go a wee bit over-the-top and wear a bold accessory to complete the look, like Marisa’s fancy schmancy headband.

Thanks for reading, and thanks to Marisa for giving us some super fun styling ideas for the Meet Me in the Meadow dress!  You can read her original blog post here.

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Blogger Style: Birds of a Thread

Tuesday, November 12th, 2013

Hey Hey!

Have you been looking forward to another Blogger Style post?  We have, too!  This time Jacqui from Birds of a Thread styles our popular Sailor Moon dress.

birds of a thread sailor moon dress

Taking a cue from Orla Kiely’s Fall/Winter ’13 look book (which took a cue from Wes Anderson’s Margot Tenenbaum), Jacqui chose a color palette of grey, mustard, red, navy, mauve, and bubblegum pink.  I’d say it works!

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It’s easy to take our dresses from fair to frigid weather by pairing them with a simple cardigan or a patterned sweater.  Another trick is to layer under instead of over – like Jacqui does with a couple of button-down shirts.  Whatever the weather, sunglasses complete the ‘cool’ vibe, don’t they?

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Sailor Moon 2-1(2)

Did you notice the interesting white broach on Jacqui’s navy coat?  It’s our Stacked Squares earrings attached to a vintage pineapple pendant – ingenious!

Mata Pendant detail copy

Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for more Blogger Style posts!

The original post on Birds of a Thread here.

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Meet Anita

Thursday, November 7th, 2013

It’s always a pleasure to reconnect with a familiar face, and when the Mata team recently visited the cooperative we work with in Mumbai, we were pleased to catch up with Anita.

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Anita is 25 years old and married with a six year old son. Before working at the co-op, she and her husband worked in agriculture, farming for their landlord. It was intensely hard work and yet they still were not able to make enough money to live on, so they made the decision to move to Mumbai and look for different jobs.

Now, things are much better for Anita and her family; they are earning more money and have a better quality of life. Her husband works as a driver in the city, and Anita has been working in the cutting room at the cooperative for a year and a half, responsible for folding the fabric for the master to cut. Anita wants to support her son’s studies and invests a lot of her money in his education.

We were lucky to meet Anita’s family when they were visiting the co-op.  That’s Anita in the black scarf, behind her to the right is her aunt, Sidhama, a founding member of the co-op 28 years ago, and on the very left is Anita’s mom who recently returned from Kuwait where she was working in a mall.

anitas family

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Blogger Style: Un Petit Fauve

Saturday, October 26th, 2013

We’re happy to continue our ‘Blogger Style’ series with Amber from Un Petit Fauve.  She’s one of our favorite bloggers, not just because she likes to style Mata, but also because her blog intersperses her love of vintage fashion with her own original poetry.

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Amber is from the Bay Area, a beautiful backdrop for our Moonrise dress in the lovely color of chartreuse.

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The floral print on the dress is applied by hand.  The design is carved into a block of wood, dipped in dye (or in this case a resist of clay/mud/sap), and then stamped on the fabric by a very precise block printer.  Learn more about our block printers and how the technique works.

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Another cool handmade element of the dress is the red embroidery at the collar and hem and the blue applique stripes at the waist and hem.  That intricate work is done by women in their own homes, although quite often the women get together to stitch in one woman’s home or in a community space like a temple patio.

Amber is also wearing our darling Darling Doily necklace, made by artisans at our amazing jewelry partner organization.

Want to see what the Moonrise dress would look like paired with knee-high socks and a cable-knit sweater?  I think you said yes.  Then head over to Amber’s original post for further fall styling.

Thanks for reading! Stayed tuned for more Blogger Style posts to come!

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Blogger Style: October Rebel

Monday, October 21st, 2013

Hey Everyone! Here’s another Blogger Style post, this time with October Rebel.

“October is Fair Trade Month. Why not celebrate with some fair trade fashion? Mata Traders recently challenged me to remix some pieces from their Fall ’13 collection. Let me tell you – I was so excited. Their Fall ’13 collection is gorgeous. There are understated floral prints, simple stripes, romantic jewel tones, lots of delicious a-line silhouettes, but also some polished sheath dresses. You should definitely check it out. It’s all very charming and wearable, but I think I’m loving the cotton lace Young Love dress the best of all. Here are four ways of styling it for fall. (Did I mention it has pockets)?”

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Pair it with tights and simple flats for those warmer fall days

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Throw on a plaid jacket and a beanie when it gets colder

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Maybe a cardigan is more your style? Still works with this versatile dress!

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Last but not least, pair with a scarf for a more casual look

Thanks to October for sharing! Stay tuned for more Blogger Style posts!

See her original post here.

 

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Blogger Style: Walking with Cake

Monday, October 14th, 2013

Over the next couple of months we’re going to post photos of some of our favorite bloggers as they style our fall collection.

First up is Catherine from Walking with Cake.  Our Savannah Smile dress reminded her of the old railroad caps her grandfather used to wear and was the perfect outfit for an outing to Railroad Park with her boys.

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Catherine’s from Texas, and even though it’s technically fall, it’s still hot.  She first paired the dress with a thin leather belt, strappy sandals, and a fair trade medallion.

But, for cooler weather…

Savannah-Smile-Dress-styled-for-Fall

…add a sweater and lace-up shoes for a bit more warmth.  And when it gets cold enough, grey tights will complete the look.

Stay tuned for more Blogger Style posts coming up!

See Catherine’s original railroad post here.

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Fall 2013 Trends

Thursday, September 19th, 2013

The weather has finally snapped and it’s time to think Fall!   I try to love each of the four seasons equally, but Fall always seems to tug at my heart strings more than the others.  So let’s talk Fall 2013 Trends…

First up, florals.  It’s not always what you think of for Fall, but here they are anyway!  I love the mix of a light print with heavy tights and a chunky knit for a romantic look.  Or toughen it up with a leather jacket and boots for a 90s look.  Use Mata’s ‘Meet Me In The Meadow Dress’ to execute your look.

Meet me in the Meadow dress

jessica alba floral lthr glmourmagazine.co.uk

 Meet me in the Meadow dress

Secondly, midi skirts.  Such a ladylike style that used to be seen as a matronly, but I think this look can be totally sexy when styled correctly.  Use the ‘Saddleback Skirt’ or the ‘Tagalong Dress’ to get the looks.  I say, always do a heel with the midi skirt so it doesn’t cut off your leg.  I love how Theyskens’ Theory showed a midi skirt with a tall boot.  Sometimes, showing less skin can be sexy!

saddleback skirt

Dries Von Noten

Dries Von Noten

fair trade dress

Theyskens' Theory

Theyskens’ Theory

Next, let talk about color blocking, which is still going strong after a few seasons.  We’ve all dipped our toes in the color blocking water.  You can see Mata’s take on the trend with the ‘Half Moon Dress’  or the ‘Moonrise Dress’ .  Either color block with all black and white or choose all rich jewel tones:

halfmoon dress

Rag & Bone

Rag & Bone

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Juan Carlos Obando

Juan Carlos Obando

Those are some top Fall trends for 2013 that Mata has shown in their line.  I love the looks, and can’t wait to try them out!  Fall is here…. Are you ready??

xoLaura

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Blogger Style

Friday, September 13th, 2013

Wondering how to transition your spring pieces into fall? Sarah, the blogger behind Closet Bookworm, shows off how she styles Mata a few different ways. These are images from her 30-day-challenge she posted on pinterest (that’s also why there are numbers on the pics).

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Look familiar? This is our Pagoda Pocket dress from our Spring ’13 line. Still available online, and definitely fall-ready when you pair it with some tights & a sweater.

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Isn’t this skirt cute? Unfortunately, we don’t have any more of this exact print, but we do have the same style in our Fall Collection, in two different color-ways. You can find them here.

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Just pair with tights and you’re set!

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Here’s our Singapore Sweetheart top – since it’s been so hot lately, you still have time to pull off this look. Or, you could just pair it with dark jeans and a blazer for a sleek look ready for work (and the weather)!

Check out our fall collection here.

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Emerald With Envy

Monday, August 5th, 2013

plentyofcolour_emeraldpantone

Pantone named emerald the color of the year calling it:
“Lively. Radiant. Lush… A color of elegance and beauty that enhances our sense of well-being, balance and harmony.”  Sounds pretty wonderful, right?  It just so happens to be my birthstone, and is a color that I love to play around with.  Below are some inspiration boards that show how easily Mata’s summer line can be worn with it this great 2013 shade:

emerald board 1Here we have the ‘Pleated Petal Blouse‘ which goes swimmingly with emerald skinny jeans.  For a little enhancement pair with gold accessories like the ‘Connected Hoops Earrings‘  and a personal favorite of mine, the ‘Wind and Water Bracelet‘.  Keep the outfit playful with lace sneakers.  (jeans/ J. Brand, sneakers/ Superga)

emerald board 2 copyAnd here I took the effortless ‘Twist and Twirl Dress‘ and paired it with some deep emerald accessories.  I love navy and emerald together for summer; It reminds me of the ocean!  Think of this like color blocking.  You don’t want to go overboard, so throw some neutrals in, like a straw hat and the ‘Labyrinth Ring‘. (purse/ Madewell, sandals/ Stella McCartney, hat/ Eugenia Kim)

The 81st Annual Academy Awards - ArrivalsLet’s take some inspiration from Angelina Jolie and remember that a little emerald goes a long way.

emerald board 3 copyEmerald looks so stunning with black for a nighttime look that I would wear the ‘Vintage Leaf Earrings‘ with the ‘Shanghai Shift Dress‘ and a simple black shoe.  Tie the look together with emerald nail polish.  As if this outfit wasn’t fantastic enough, you can add Brad Pitt on your arm for the extra wow factor. :) (flats/ Marais USA, polish/ Essie)

Emerald is a truly beautiful color.  It is soothing and is perfect for summer.  Try it out.  The color will easily find a way into your heart, as it has done for me.

xoLaura

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School’s Out for Summer…….or maybe not

Friday, July 19th, 2013

Have you been busy this summer taking classes? Have midterms got ya down? Well for a smarty pants like you, here’s an idea for a little pick-me-up in your summer school wardrobe.

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The Pagoda Pocket dress is the perfect dress to throw into your classroom rotation. Not only is the print bright and fun (good for keeping you awake during long lectures), but it also includes pockets to hold your flash drives. Add some cool shades to keep that bright morning sun out of your eyes as you make your way to class, and don’t forget your morning cup of fair trade coffee!

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skirt! on TV

Wednesday, July 10th, 2013

We’re on TV again!  This time Elisa Drake, editor of the new Chicago magazine, skirt!, was wearing our yellow Yin Yoke skirt on a local morning news show.

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Be sure to look for skirt! magazine as you go about Chicago.  It’s distributed for free around the city in cafes, salons, and shops.  Each cover is designed by a different female artist, and the summery launch issue is by Daria Jabenko.

Skirt-mag-cover

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Workers of the World Arise!

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013

Meet Shelly Ruzicka, passionate fighter for worker rights, Director of Operations at Arise Chicago, and new Co-chair of the Board of Chicago Fair Trade.

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Shelly is also a long-time Mata customer.  Yep, those are some old Mata ‘fan’ earrings she’s wearing.  I sat down with Shelly on the ‘el’ ride home from a recent CFT board meeting:

Can you tell me a little about your work at ARISE?  What are some of the projects the organization is currently working on?

Arise Chicago is an interfaith workers’ rights organization, founded in 1991, to organize the religious community in support of workers trying to form unions or win fair contracts. In 2002, we opened a worker center for non-union, mostly immigrant workers who work in the lowest paid, least regulated industries, and who regularly face wage theft, discrimination, and unhealthy or unsafe work environments.  Since then, we’ve partnered with and organized about 3,000 low-wage workers to recover over $5 million in unpaid wages and compensation!

We’re working on a lot of exciting campaigns right now.  One of our biggest is organizing car wash workers across Chicago.  A recent University of Illinois study found that essentially no car washes in the city fully comply with employment and labor laws.  The average Chicago car wash worker loses over $4,000 a year in stolen wages, over 80% aren’t given any personal protective gear (like gloves or eye protection), and 60% do not have access to clean, free drinking water.  We’re working with the United Steelworkers to teach workers their rights, including the right to organize to improve conditions.

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We’re also working in partnership with the Chicago Teachers Union, religious leaders, and several community groups to stop the massive school closings.  The Board of Education is actually voting this week on which of the 54 proposed schools will indeed be closed. We’ve heard that 4 schools were taken off the list, but are hoping that number grows. We’ve been participating in the marches and rallies over the past several months, including a 3-day march this past weekend.  A school closing this massive will mean hundreds of teachers, janitors, and cafeteria workers will lose their jobs, many families will lose the only stable institution in their neighborhoods, and students will be put at risk of violence when they have to cross gang lines to get to their new schools.

Editor’s Note:  The Chicago School Board voted to close 50 public schools today.

Arise fists in the air

You’ve been wearing Mata Traders for a long time.  How did you first find us?  What is your favorite Mata piece you own?

Wow, let’s see….It must have been around 2006 or 2007, one of my first years in Chicago.  I met Maureen at the Andersonville Summer Fest.  Mata Traders had a booth at the festival, and when I saw fair trade I stopped to talk to her because I had been really involved in fair trade in college.  The rest is history!  I’ve been wearing Mata ever since.  I just got a few new things from the 2013 spring collection, so this might change once I’ve worn them, but right now, my favorite Mata piece is a skirt I got last year (I’m forgetting the name!  Tulia or Julia maybe?).  It’s got a high waist band with orange designs on the band and along the bottom, and the skirt has great blue and teal.  I just love the style and color!

Editor’s Note:  It’s the Jula Skirt!

What do you think first sparked your passion for social justice and fair trade?

Classes in college first got me interested in global poverty and how to address its root causes, like unfair free trade agreements (NAFTA, CAFTA).  I studied for a semester in Oxford my sophomore year, and that’s where I first saw student activism around these issues.  That got me excited to take some action back to my own campus, and I learned more about free trade agreements and about fair trade.  I started to hold events on campus to educate other students and studied the issues as much as I could.  I see fair trade closely linked to my current work.  Fair trade seeks to ensure that workers are fairly compensated, their health and safety protected, that they have a voice on the job—often through worker owned businesses and co-ops, like with Mata Traders.  These are the same rights Arise and our worker members fight for, recovering stolen wages, winning community-employer agreements, or unionizing.  As a board member at Chicago Fair Trade, it’s exciting for me to connect these issues facing global workers, whether across the globe in India or right here in Chicago.

Shelly at the march against school closingsshelly in the ikat modVintage Leaf earrings (on left) and Ikat Mod dress (right)

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Sooners the Better

Monday, April 15th, 2013

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Here comes Sooners for Fair Trade, one of a growing number of student-run fair trade advocacy groups popping up on college and university campuses across the U.S. and abroad.  This group is starting off with a bang, planning an on-campus event called Fair Trade Fest, April 22-26:

  • Monday 4/22 – Filming of a “Flash Card” video – giant inspirational, educational flashcards flipped in front of a big crowd.
  • Tuesday 4/23 – Starting Tuesday and going all week, Sooners for Fair Trade will be at a booth in the student union handing out flyers and talking about the benefits of Fair Trade and why they are bringing it to campus.
  • Thursday 4/25 – Students are coming together in the “passion pit,” an outdoor amphitheater, for worship and praying over the Fair Trade organizations and the farmer and artisan workers around the world.
  • Friday 4/26 – Fair Trade market on the lawn with various fair trade organizations selling their goods.

So, if you’re near the University of Oklahoma campus next week, you’re gonna want to stop by to take part in the festivities.  And if you’re not, well, look for that flash card video to go viral….  Yay for fair trade universities campaigns (and the students behind them)!!

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What fashions in Vegas…

Friday, April 12th, 2013

…doesn’t necessarily stay in Vegas (Matawear goes anywhere)!

Last week my mom and I escaped to fabulous Las Vegas for some fun in the sun, and of course I brought along some Mata fair trade dresses to strut the Strip in color and style.

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On the first night we went roaming around the Bellagio, where we saw the gorgeous fountains dancing to an Elvis song. Then we ate some sushi and gambled away a few bucks at the Cosmo.  I was wearing the Garden Party polka dot dress, which has just arrived in our Spring ’13 collection.

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That’s me posing in front of the Roman sculptures inside the Bellagio!

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Trying to be serious mom – I’m gambling!

The Belmont dress was too fun – it seemed right at home in Vegas with all its color and pizzazz.

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A contemplative moment in a very bright dress.

This is a shot taken from our balcony – look at that view! I couldn’t help but do a twirl in the darling Paint the Town dress.

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Psst…  Did I mention our spring collection is in?  Make sure to check it out!

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Thanks for reading!

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Spring 2013 Jewelry

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

It’s a new year!  And that means new shows, new trends, and new inspiration!

Here are the hot trends we’ve been spotting for jewelry this spring:

Mint. Want some color?  Go for green!  Shades of green are big big big, and everyone is especially loving mint and emerald.  The Fan Earrings are a perfect touch and look good with practically everything; pair this touch of mint with an all black & white outfit (also popular this season).

Heavy Metal. It’s not dainty.  It’s heavy, reminiscent of the ’80s, and I’m loving it!  Stack and layer.  Silver, gold, or rose gold.  Start mixing ‘em up.  You can’t go wrong with the Labyrinth Rings or the Hearts and Hieroglyphics Bracelets.  They give an edge to those sweet summer dresses.

Geometric. Adorn yourself with pieces inspired by shape and contrast.  Think ’60s mod (thank you, Marc Jacobs).  The Widow’s Peak Earrings are chic and streamlined.  Almost hypnotic!

World Traveler. Out with the Art Deco from last year, and in with the ethnic inspiration.  Jewelry followed suit with the clothing trend, having a heavy Eastern influence.  The Something Sapphire Earrings are a perfect Moroccan pop if you’re feeling that your outfit needs that extra oomph.  And the Petite Samurai Earrings have that perfect far-off-land wanderlust touch.

And how about this trend?  Fair trade and ethical gemstones. As said on examiner.com, “Other than style, one of the biggest trend for fine jewelry for 2013 is going to be the gems that are mined and traded ethically. Before you purchase a diamond or any precious stone, make sure that it is conflict free stone, benefiting the miners and local communities where it comes from.”  Of course, all of Mata’s pieces are fair trade so you can feel good about what you are buying!

The temperatures are warming and I’m starting to come out of my winter “all black, all the time” rut just in time for all of these great trends.  I love them all!  Lucky for me they’re available now (along with many more gorgeous pieces).

xoLaura

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This is what Fair Trade is all about.

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

A few months ago, I told you about Sunita, a once-shy and exploited artisan who found empowerment through fair trade.  She started her own fair trade artisan cooperative, called Sunita Handicrafts, and Mata Traders is one of their customers.  Her group has made such pieces as the Tiered Wooden Necklace:

Nisha, an artisan member of Sunita Handicrafts Group, displaying Mata's Tiered Wooden necklace

Sunita Handicrafts is located in a slum neighborhood on the outskirts of Delhi, and through her work, Sunita has become a leader in her community.  She is one of the main organizers involved in establishing a new community medical center.  She visits families in the community one by one to explain the importance of the medical center and how to get involved.

The center's doctor

Examining a patient

The way the medical center works is that adults must join for an initial cost of 250 rupees ($4.63 USD).  After that, doctor visits cost only 10 rupees (19¢) and any medicine they need is dispensed by the doctor free of charge.  Children are covered under their parent’s enrollment.  In the first year of existence, the center already has over 800 members.

Exam room

The doctor's assistant

The doctor's assistant

Sunita explained to me that normally the cost of visiting a doctor would be much higher, so this center has made medical treatment much more accessible to the people in her community.

Above the medical center, is a room with 6 computers where computer training is held.  The space doubles as a meeting room, where it is customary to sit on the floor.

Next door to the medical center is a community center that houses a vocational training center for young women to learn how to sew.  There are 18 students (women age 16 – 45) and more will be joining when the program can acquire more sewing machines.

Future tailors

Notice the foot pedal powered sewing machines – how carbon neutral!

Sewing teacher, Rupat

In the room above the sewing class is an after-school program for children.  This is a supplement to the government-run public school that they attend.

The lesson of the day was telling time.

The children are between the ages of 4 and 12 years old.  There are 129 students that make up 3 classes, which are taught in shifts.

Joshi is a social worker and grassroots organizer for over 19 years.  After we met Sunita in her cooperative (where she told us about these amazing initiatives in her community), it was Joshi who took me and Kristin on a tour of the medical center, computer lab, sewing class, and after-school program.  He told us that the quality of education the children receive in public schools is poor and stressed how beneficial the after-school program is to these kids.

Our tour ended with some of the kids taking turns performing a song for us in front of the class.

One of several fine performances. In the background: teacher, Annu, and the social worker, Joshi

Sunita Handicrafts is part of a larger fair trade organization that for decades has been a leading advocate and organizer of marginalized artisans and through which, Mata Traders makes all of our jewelry.  The programs in Sunita’s community have been developed and financed through their work, in partnership with an international funder.  But, the outside funds are merely a portion of the start up costs of the medical center.  These programs will continue to be self-funded through fair trade and community participation.

View from the rooftop

What’s next on Sunita’s plate?  She’s helping initiate a micro-credit program for people in the community to start their own businesses.  She says there’s a problem with people being unable to start their own ventures as tradesmen: plumbers, electricians, etc.  After talking to hundreds of families, she’s determined that access to income is the most pressing need.

Sunita asked me to tell our customers about the work they are doing in her cooperative and community.  Through fair trade, she has seen her neighbors improve their standard of living, able to feed their families and send their kids to school.  She hopes that you will continue to support their work!  Thank you!

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This is the New Generation

Monday, February 11th, 2013

The next generation of fashionistas walked the runway last week at Northside College Prep High School in Chicago.  They rocked the looks, but the coolest thing about these budding style-ophiles is that they are also the next generation of social justice advocates.  The students used their passion for fashion to teach their peers and community about fair trade and the way our purchases have an impact on global poverty.

Awareness and advocacy of fair trade have been growing on high school and college campuses around the country.  And we’re glad it is, cause they look so cute in the clothes!

The effortlessly chic Juniper Jumpsuit

The powerful, sleek Ikat Mod dress

The boho mod Genevieve Jumper

The sweet and light Dalia dress

All the models looked absolutely fabulous in Mata.  The four guys kneeling in front were modeling the ethically-made college t-shirts and sweatshirts of Alta Gracia.  To read more about the students’ campaign to source sweatshop-free school apparel and to see more pics from the show, check out this article.

Are you interested in organizing a fair trade fashion show at your school?  We’ll lend you the clothes.  Email taylor@matatraders.com for information.

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Happy New Year!

Monday, December 31st, 2012

In this photo, the ladies of sewing center #5 display the garments they stitched from our catalogs.  Thank you to all of our customers for helping us bring these talented women more work in the upcoming year!

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Feel Good Brownies

Sunday, December 23rd, 2012

Our delightful intern, Michelle, brings you some delights:

Do you love warm, gooey, and decadent chocolate brownies?  I do!  But sometimes all that sugary goodness can make you feel pretty bad about your life choices.  Why not decrease some of that guilt by choosing fair trade and organic ingredients!  Buying fair trade food items is surprisingly simple.  Many common baking ingredients like sugar, chocolate, and coffee are available fair trade from stores like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s.  Just look for the fair trade seal, and you know you’ll be good to go!

Guilt-Free Chocolate Brownies (with Coffee Icing)

For Brownies

50 grams fair trade dark chocolate (my favorites are Green & Black’s, Divine, and Equal Exchange)
1/2 cup butter
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup flour
1 cup fair trade sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
pinch of salt

For Icing

6 tbsp butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup cream cheese
1 tbsp strong dark fair trade coffee

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius).
Melt chocolate and butter in a bowl over a pan of simmering water.
Pour the melted mixture into another bowl, and beat in the eggs.
Add the flour, baking soda, and salt.  Mix until well blended, then pour into a greased brownie tin.
Cook for 30-40 minutes.
Remove from oven and allow to cool completely in the tin.

To make the frosting, beat the butter, powdered sugar,
coffee, and cream cheese together until fluffy.
Spread the frosting over the cooled brownie, and enjoy!

Remember–try fair trade and organic products to make your sweet treats even sweeter. And don’t forget to lick the spoon!

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Why is fair trade so important?

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

Hello,

My name is Ashley and I am a journalist at Columbia College Chicago.  I am currently writing a story on fair trade accessories and I was looking for some comments to add to the story.  I was wondering if you could tell me why you think fair trade is so important.  Any information you have will help.  Thank you for your time and I hope to hear from you.

Best,
Ashley

Hi Ashley,

Thanks for being in touch! Almost half the world — over three billion people — live on less than $2.50 a day. According to UNICEF, 22,000 children die each day due to poverty.  Fair Trade is a movement to end global poverty.  As consumers, we are responsible for shaping the world, for good or bad.  Our dollar is our vote; there is no abstaining.  Unfair trade practices are a primary cause of global poverty.  Many of the products we buy are grown/made by people who are paid unlivable and unstable wages and even by children and slaves.  Working conditions are unsafe and can lead to harm and death. With a fair trade product, the supply chain is transparent and consumers can learn the story behind their purchase.  For marginalized communities, fair trade cooperatives or organizations create opportunities to break the cycle of poverty with fair wages, safe conditions, and benefits like training and health care.  It’s up to consumers to seek out and support those opportunities.

Hope that helps!

Jonit

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