New York Fashion Week’s Fair Trade Runway Show

Fair Trade Runway Show

Fair trade. It’s such a simple concept—pay people fairly for the work they do. Isn’t the reverse—paying people less, just because you can—dishonest and, I’ll say it, wrong? While it seems to that way to me, that is the how the fashion world works—by underpaying people because they get away with it. The majority of mainstream companies pay very low wages to (or skimp on or eliminate benefits or disregard the safety of) poor people in developing countries who desperately need jobs. Because it makes them a bit more money the next quarter. It’s not about consumer prices going up, which they would only very marginally if fair labor practices were enacted, it’s about corporate greed.

The New York City Fair Trade Coalition (NYCFTC) is one of the organizations working against these basic acts of wrong that seem to be the norm. And they threw a fashion show during New York Fashion Week to prove just how lovely, fun, and mainstream being fair can be. 


The NYCFTC joined forces with (the site’s EIC, Kate Black, is pictured above) for the Fair Fashion Runway presentation, which included LEOTA NewYork and ReciclaGEM by Tamara Leacock (main image above). There was a fair-trade marketplace, featuring jewelry and accessory designers too. All designers featured are part of the NYCFTC.


Another look by ReciclaGEM by Tamara Leacock


A look from LEOTA NewYork 


A second look from LEOTA NewYork.

“Fair Trade is simply the way the world should be, which is why initiatives like the New York City Fair Trade Coalition are vital,” states Jennifer Barckley, Director, Brand Communications & Values at The Body Shop, which sponsored the event. “Over twenty-five years ago, The Body Shop pioneered the first of its kind program in the beauty industry called Community Fair Trade. Today, it supports over 25 communities around the world—from Mexico to Nepal—and provides consumers with the highest quality ingredients and products for a truly feel good experience.”


Jewelry By Natalie Frigo is made in NYC and graced several of the models in the runway presentation. 


Bhava shoes showcased their first collection at the fair trade marketplace.


Mr. Ellie Pooh stationery showed off their made-from-poo journals and notepaper. 


Co-chair Nimet Degirmencioglu (right, above image) said, “NYCFTC believes Fair Trade is not just for a day, or a charity, it is a way to live. This event brings more conscious choices to the forefront. As we make fair trade a part of our sartorial lives, it improves lives around the world.”

All images by Starre Vartan. 

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Suzanne Rae S/S ’14 Collection at NYFW: Futuristic Minimalism for the Modern Woman

New Zealand’s First Eco Fashion Week Plus 3 Hot Kiwi Designers

Starre Vartan

Starre Vartan has been covering eco fashion, natural beauty, ethical travel, and sustainable design for over a decade. She's written for magazines (Whole Living, Metropolis) and online (Huffington Post, MNN,, Inhabitat) and she has been honored as a thought leader by Glamour and Self magazines, as well as quoted in the New York Times (thrice). She's the author of "The Eco Chick Guide to Life: How to Be Fabulously Green" (St. Martin's Press) which was based on her longrunning blog, Starre was born Down Under in Sydney, Australia and has dual citizenship with the United States, as she grew up and was educated in the Hudson Valley of New York. She has a Bachelors of Science degree in Geology from Syracuse University and a Master of Fine Arts in Nonfiction writing from Columbia University. She splits her time between the Connecticut coast and Manhattan and loves to read, hike, snowboard, horseback ride, travel, and she will swim in almost anything (from lake to sea, cenote to mountain swimming hole).