Verdict: Fair Trade, Handmade
Mata Traders is a company that sells handmade, fair trade women’s clothing and accessories. They partner with Fair Trade companies in India and Nepal that help train and employ women to help supply fair jobs in impoverished areas and help break the cycle of child labour by providing a living wage to parents.
What They Sell: Women’s Clothing
Transparency: Fairly transparent. They are open about who makes the clothing, but not as clear about raw materials like where the cotton is sourced, etc.
What They Are Doing Great:
- Partnering with fair trade organizations in India and Nepal provide jobs for women in those countries and helps empower women and promote gender equality.
- Artisan co-ops help provide training to the female artisans which make the clothing so that in addition to a living wage, they learn how to handle finances, learn literacy, receive day care and more.
- Block printing the fabrics by hand is a traditional artisanal skill. By purchasing fabrics that are hand printed, we are supporting more jobs than if we purchase a factory made print.
- Fair wages are paid per item, allowing women who would normally not find a part time job the chance to work part time or from home.
- Many items use eco-friendly vegetable dyes for the block printing.
- They have an organic cotton line (but not all items are organic cotton).
- They have a curvy line that runs up to 3X in sizes.
Room for Improvement:
- Although they mention in a few places that the promote eco-friendly alternatives in their supply chain, this is not detailed anywhere. Specific questions can be seen below.
Emailed January 14 2016 to ask:
- Many of your garments are made from cotton. Do you make efforts to use responsible cotton or organic cotton, and to avoid purchasing cotton from areas like Uzbekistan?
- In one blog post you mention that you use eco friendly vegetable dyes for block printing. What about for dying the main fabrics? What precautions do you take to ensure your dyes are not causing pollution?
- Do you track electricity, natural gas and hydro usage in your supply chain or at your offices? Do you set (and meet) goals to reduce usage?
- Do you make efforts to use minimal packaging and marketing materials, or even better, to use biodegradable, recycled, or recyclable materials?