Ethical Fashion Blog

Catalog Appreciation Day
This week, Taylor has been creating our Fall/Winter 2011 catalog.  As you can imagine, it is quite an endeavor:  photographing the samples, writing descriptions, designing the layout and then using Photoshop to tediously put it all together.  For the inside cover, we decided to make a collage from pictures I took last summer in India of the women who sew our clothes at the cooperatives.  I think it’s a great idea, because, as a shopper, how often do you actually get to see a picture of the person who made the clothes you buy?!?!
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I’ve had 3 full days now back in India (last time I was here it was 2004) and the main thing to report is that it is rainy.  It’s monsoon season which means that it rains almost all the time and when it seems like the rain has let up and you go outside, it’s actually still raining, only a bit lighter.


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Mix and Match Tibetan Fashion
I just ended a week in Kathmandu working with our new fair trade partners on Spring 2011 designs.  I got so inspired by the colorful Nepali street fashion!  It's a total parade of mix and match prints for the ladies, many of which are Tibetan, and the men wear the cutest traditional hats in hand-woven prints...Nepal is colorful in a different way than India and it is definitely influencing my design process.
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Emails from India and a Loooooooooooooooooong shanti letter
Michelle, Maureen, and I first went to India in December 2003 and spent 4 months backpacking the country as part of a longer round-the-world adventure.  We stayed in touch with our friends and family back home through a new communication technology known as the group email.  On that trip, Maureen fell in love…with shopping in India.  She started Mata Traders, and has returned every year since.  We’ll be posting excerpts from past emails to share some of our first experiences and impressions of India.
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Everybody needs an Auntie

“Surita Auntiiiieeee!”

This is a common call at our women’s cooperative in Mumbai and is usually shouted out in a high-pitched Hindi lilt.  What is Surita Auntie’s job description?

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News from Bihar, where our beads come from
Looks like there are signs of improvement in Bihar, one of India’s most impoverished states and the location of many of our bead producer groups.  Bihar has one of the lowest wage rates in the country and bead production is a big industry there.  The cool thing about the organization that makes our jewelry is that they ensure that even the beads themselves are ethically sourced.  They cut out the middle man and work directly with bead producers to pay them a livable wage that is often 3-5 times higher than the minimum wage in the area.  They also make sure that health and safety precautions are followed and no child labor is used.
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Welcome to Mata Traders' blog!

We'll use this space so you can learn more about Mata Traders and the women's cooperatives and artisans that make our clothes and jewelry. Please check back here often for stories and pictures from our travels in India, anecdotes about starting up a small business, information on fair trade, and discussion of the latest fashion.  We'll also use this space to offer special deals on our fair trade clothing and accessories and to announce events where we'll be selling our line.

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