Category: Ethical Fashion

Organic September

This September celebrates Organic September, a national awareness month of all that is organic. The aim is to make a pact to replace something in your daily life with something organic. Here at FAIR we thought we would give you plenty of excuses for that something to be your clothes!  Especially with the back to school rush, as we understand it isn’t just the school kids that like their wardrobe to look fresh as they go back to hard work. Around 80% of the clothes in our store are organic, including People Tree, Pants To Poverty and Veleco giving you tonnes of choice.

#thefairshop #brighton #organicseptember #fairtradefashion #fashion






Be the change you want to see!


New to Fair:

SAHEL Design bags!

hereThese gorgeous new bags have a just as gorgeous story behind them. SAHEL began in the desert of Burkina Faso where the Fulani originate. Horse lovers by tradition, Fulani people used to dress their steeds in vibrant tassles to accentuate the horse’s movement and turn heads. Traditional Fulani horse harnesses have strong braided straps which are hand woven by highly skilled artisans.

All SAHEL bags and accessories employ this unique Fulani skill, some of the bags are made in Burkina Faso. Most are made in Devon, England using sustainably sourced leather and suede. All of them incorporate tassels or hand braided straps from the north of Burkina Faso.

Adhering to Fair trade principles, SAHEL invest into the people who make it possible to create their beautiful bags, providing better access to health care, primary education and clean water.


‘The True Cost’- A Fashion Documentary Movie

search     We wanted to give you a heads up about a great educational film that has just premiered in New York, ‘The True Cost’ Daily News Washington says ‘ Don’t expect easy answers from “The True Cost,” but expect to feel like you need to find some, and urgently.’ We hope that this film will help to start opening peoples eyes to the real repercussions behind our over-consumption and we would love for you to help spread the word too.

Watch the trailer to this very moving film

Here’s a link to their site where you can watch the whole thing

Swishing at FAIR! June 2015

Another exciting Date for your Diary: 13th June

Here at FAIR we believe in ethical fashion in all senses. For this reason, we’d love to introduce you to Rags Revival. An amazing chance to swap in those garments that have been hiding in the back of your wardrobe for something you may just fall in love with.  For £5 you can bring up to 10 items of clothing or accessories to swap! From experience, we can safely say there are always plenty of gems to be swapped! We will also be offering you lovely swishers 10% off all clothing at FAIR from 11am-7pm. Do come and join in the fabulous fun!

Check out more details on the facebook event

or to know more about swishing with Rag Revival have a peek at their website






Pop-up Shoe Shop at FAIR May-June 2015

Coming up at FAIR…

 Date for your Diary: 30th May

The brilliant shoes of Bourgeois Boheme will be making an appearance in FAIR! We will be holding a Pop Up event from 12-4pm on the 30th May, as we are sure you will love BoBo shoes as much as we do! Check out their website below for a preview of the type of selection we will have in store. There will also be healthy drinks and nibbles on offer as you browse. If you’re fancying a lovely outfit to go with your new shoes, you’re in luck! FAIR will also be offering 10% off all clothing to all BoBo customers!



World Fair Trade Day 9/5/2015: Be an Agent for Change

BE an agent for CHANGE: buimgresy FAIR TRADE

World Fair Trade Day: the inclusive worldwide festival celebrating Fair Trade as a tangible contribution to the fight against poverty, exploitation, climate change and the economic crisis

With World Fair Trade Day on the 9th of May, we wanted to share with you some great things Fair Trade has brought about.

People Tree is just one of the brands we stock that is certified Fair Trade. With Fair Trade pay and working conditions, People Tree has been supporting Kumbeshwar Technical School helping 260 children go to school as well as running a health scheme for all workers.

Bombolulu supplies the beautiful Fair Trade jewellery we supply in store. They are also responsible for the wheelchair campaign, using the profits made through the sale of their jewellery, they aim to supply every disabled child in Kenya with a wheelchair.

By buying organic cotton products, you are supporting the families of cotton farmers around the globe. The usual pay for the cotton fibre has decreased dramatically, without the price of production following the same trend. This is leaving cotton farmers in a state of desperation, even to the extent of taking their own lives as too many already have. By buying Organic Fair Trade cotton products, you are ensuring that this doesn’t happen, that farmers are paid the correct amount to provide for their family without being forced to use environmentally harmful pesticides to increase their yield.

So please we encourage you to celebrate all that is Fair Trade, especially on 9th of May!












Growing Suchana

New water pump built in 2010 for the Suchana School
New water pump built in 2010 for the Suchana School 

Each trip we make to Kolkata includes an excursion out to Khanjanpur outside of Santiniketan, West Bengal.  We visit Kirsty and Rahul Bose who set up Suchana school as a resource for local Santali, Kora and Bengali children.  Although the village children are educated in government schools they are taught in Bengali.  This a second language for the tribal children as the Santali and Kora tribes traditionally have their own spoken but not written language.  Being taught in another language sets the children at a disadvantage to learning which affects them gaining much needed local employment.  We spoke to Kirsty and asked her to tell us more about Suchana.

When did you start Suchana and why?
We started in 2004, it started as an attempt to do pre-schooling with my own kids and other middle class families in Santiniketan.  My kids were 5, 2 and 0.  It was supposed to be a joint effort between a group of parents- the regulars ended up being the local children from the village that we had invited, who happened to be older.  It quickly transpired that although they were in school they couldn’t read.  They came every Sunday and so we hired a Santali teacher to teach them.  As we had a teacher we decided to fill up a class.  We spoke to the local primary school teacher to ask them to recommend some children that could use extra support.
The first year we ended up teaching 30 kids that we paid for ourselves.  The second year we generated funds from selling cards and went up to teaching 65 children on our verandah.  By the 6th year we started using an extra building at the end of our garden and increased to 150 kids.  By 2009 we started to build the Suchana school house and expanded on insecure funds but the past three years we have received funding from Tata.
What opportunities does it create for the students?
We are just discovering that now as the first group of children are leaving.  One has entered an IT program and three are taking a humanities degree at the local college in Bolpur.  We think two will pass but one might have funding issues.  The classes they attend have funding issues and classes are up to 70 students so there is a cost to get extra tuition classes which are needed. For the other students Bolpur is a rural economy which will have openings for people with broad education.  They are encouraged to try things but they are disadvantaged due to their tribal status.
How do you see Suchana evolving?
A lot depends on funds, but there are now 25 competent staff employed part time (including former students) for a mobile teaching unit and outreach programs.
Mobile tuition is growing with 6 teachers and 15 laptops that go and teach out in the villages farther away.  The mobile library (rickshaw van and 3 trunks of books with 2 teachers) visits 2 villages a day.  Children in those villages get the library once a week.
The other way in which things have been developing is finding ways to act as a resource centre for newer or less innovative organisations.  Currently we have 250 core students at the main school location, 100 core students at a second centre and we reach 600 students with the mobile library and developing material for children using their first language and how to teach in a multilingual setting.
Suchana includes English, Science, Maths, Bangla, History, Geography within their curriculum.
Read more about the school or make donations to Friends of Suchana at
Volunteer opportunities for skilled teachers in IT, accounting, building and mobile technology are welcome.  The minimum commitment for volunteering is one year.
Siobhan with suchana
Celebrating Holi March 2015



Our Visit to Calcutta Rescue

At FAIR, we have been selling key rings from Calcutta Rescue for over 10 years, even before the shop on Queens Road opened its doors.  They have always been really popular.  Each visit to see this organisation in Kolkata, India opens our eyes even more to the many different things they do.  Calcutta Rescue provides free medical services as so many people cannot access medical services here in Kolkata.  We work with their Fair Trade unit that fundraises for the medical services, two schools for street children, educational outreach programs about health and provides employment to ex-patients.  Yesterday at the Fair Trade unit we bumped into James Fox who is over from the UK working in child psychiatry at the organisation.    Read about his fascinating experience so far with the organisation here.  We’ll be back from India with new stock from Calcutta Rescue next week.  They are made by women that work on the key rings in between other chores.  The key rings are so colourful and useful and buying them as gifts or for yourself is a great way to support the work of this great organisation.   Thanks so much to Sudeshna, Mithali and all the artisans for hosting us yesterday.

A TOP TIP from our colleague Maura in Kolkata is to use them on school bags or suitcases!  With their bright colours it makes the bags so easy to find.

Handicrafts & Weaving CALCUTTA RESCUE HC1-300x224

Fashion Takes Action


On Tuesday 29th October, over a hundred people came to an event hosted by People Tree, to hear where the Fashion Industry was at 6 months after the Rana Plaza tragedy in Bangladesh. A number of topics were covered, with different representatives sharing their experiences and understandings of what makes Fair Trade stand out. The room was a mix of people, individuals yet to be convinced, others there for research and some converts ready to carry the campaign through. The Rag Rage campaign pioneered by People Tree, alongside campaigns from War on Want and the Clean Clothes Campaign has so far seen a hundred brands pledge to the Bangladesh Safety Accord, but hundreds more names need to be added.

In amongst all of the talks and presentations, it was a straight question asked to Lord Peter Melchett from the Soil Association, that got me thinking most of all – “What will it take for the British general public to buy ethically produced clothes?” His answer paralleled the fashion industry to the food industry. He drew our minds to the ‘sourced locally’, ‘free range’ and ‘Best of British’ tags we expect to see, from the market stall to the supermarkets. You almost have to go out of your way to buy meat from another country and seasonal veg is celebrated in magazines and on cooking programmes. Jamie Oliver has gathered a huge following and seen changes to animal welfare and school dinners for the better whilst Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall has inspired many veg patches in our back gardens. For some it is not uncommon to know of individuals going ‘foraging’ on a Sunday afternoon. And why not? A connection with food and where it came from, with peace of mind, brings joy to cooking, sharing and eating.
So when will we begin to get this stirred up and convicted about the clothes which we wear day in day out? When will we demand for transparency in the supply chain and not settle for less than ‘made by people with choice’ on our tags? How long will it be before we ask who made our clothes not just what brand name it has on the label? By considering who, we may see their talent and creativity, taking joy and care in wearing it. Lord Melchett believes it will take this type of compassionate thinking about clothes for the culture to change. The food industry isn’t there yet, but the fashion industry has a lot of catching up to do.

It’s a challenge to many to keep our wardrobes aboveboard, so thank you to FAIR for being part of the alternative.

Lizzy Dalby

Lizzy is our first guest blogger, a great customer and part of the Brighton affiliate of STOP THE TRAFFIK

BAFTS Week and Autumn Collections: Celebrate Thursday September 26th

Introducing Autumn Collections 2013, BAFTS Week, The Fashion Revolution AND….look out for us in this month’s ELLE magazine!

Celebrate the First BAFTS WEEK ever…21st-28th September

BAFTS is the UK body for certification of Fair Trade shops and importers.  It certifies that all members sell a minimum of 70% of products by recognised Fair Trade organisations such as Fairtrade Foundation and WFTO. FAIR has been a member since 2009 and has just received a renewed certification for the next 12 months.    We are celebrating BAFTS week by holding our Autumn Collection event this Thursday. We will also be letting people know about the Fashion Revolution that will take place on April 24th, 2014 to commemorate the 1,129 lives lost in Rana Plaza, Bangladesh this year and current plans for this event.  We will bring you the first taste of our Autumn styles with organic cottons, warm woollens and soft sustainable fabrics in gorgeous classic styles.  It is clothing that respects the environment and the people that make it.

We will be offering 20% off new collections ALL DAY (10am to 8pm) and a chance to win an outfit to the value of £100 if you enter our raffle.  We will announce the winner at the end of the evening.  Refreshments and nibbles will be available between 5 and 7:30pm.  Please find a taste below of the offers available:-)

People Tree Brooke Ruched Organic Cotton Skirt in black or floral pattern will be reduced from £35 to £28.00.

Komodo Fling Dress in Herringbone will be reduced from £95 to £76

Bibico 100% Wool will be reduced from £79 to £63.20

FAIR visit from WFTO President Rudi Dalvai

FAIR was thrilled to have a surprise visit from World Fair Trade Organisation President Rudi Dalvai and Christine Gent, who has been working on their new Guarantee System. The WFTO is the main Fair Trade certification body for many of the producers who make the products at FAIR. We had a quick chat about labelling for Fair Trade clothing and the need for WFTO to have a bigger presence here in the UK alongside the well known Fairtrade Foundation.  The visit was far too brief and we look forward to meeting him again soon and giving you the chance to talk to him too.

Fair Trade Film for Brighton and Hove Schools

Recently we were involved in the making of a film for local schools to enable students to understand how fair trade works from the development of products: from design to manufacture to the shop floor.  We filmed a segment here with discussions with Teddy from Teddy Exports in India and Louise Birchmore from the lovely children’s Fair Trade Brighton brand Believe You Can

It will give the students of Brighton and Hove Schools a great insight into how Fair Trade really works and the breadth of products that Fair Trade producers now make.

Elle Magazine!

FAIR has been featured in this month’s Elle Magazine in”Secret Addresses” a listing of all the Elle Fashion Intern’s favourite places around the country.  We’re are so excited that they have selected an ethical fashion venue for the list!