What is Fair Trade?

We have all seen fair trade labels on coffee and chocolate wraps – it`s often a picture of human empowerment and unity. This greatly communicates what fair trade is about, namely people supporting other people. And while green and eco-labels show a nature-caring approach, fair trade takes the people-caring approach.

Fair trade sets social, economic, and environmental standards for companies, factories, and farmers so that they all work in symbiosis to create a business relationship that is fair to all sides in terms of pay, human rights, worker health and safety, etc.

Why is Fair Trade Important?

The truth is that worker rights in developing countries are violated on so many levels by the fast fashion industry:

  • Garment workers are paid well below the living wage.
  • They (80% women) are often abused and forced to do 16-hour shifts.
  • Poor conditions have caused thousands to die at their workplace - Rana Plaza collapse, Tazreen fire.
  • 100 million children are affected in the garment and footwear supply chain (according to UNICEF).

Fair trade means that farmers and factory workers (mostly from developing countries) are paid additional money - minimum price and a premium. In other words, all people involved in the processing of the goods we buy from stores are justly compensated for their labor. Fair trade also supports local communities and makes a difference by creating safe work conditions, forming labor unions, excluding child labor, and tracing the supply chain.

Fair Trade Labels

There are two main organizations that certify fair trade products, including fashion apparel and footwear. Fairtrade International and Fair Trade USA are probably the most established and trusted labels to look for when it comes to clothing. In fact, they used to be affiliated until their separation in 2012. Although they eventually branched as different standards, much of their values and goals have remained unchanged.

Fairtrade Int. Certified
Fair Trade USA™

Both of these logos guarantee that a portion of the money you pay goes for the well-being of those who make the product.

Discover Fair Trade Certified Clothing in our database housing 1000s of ethical products.

However not all fair trade is necessarily labeled. Some brands prefer to take a more holistic approach to fair trade and becoming members of noble organizations such as WFTO (World Fair Trade Organization).


WFTO is a global community of social enterprises whose members are 100% committed to Fair Trade. They are checked for compliance on the 10 Fair Trade Principles and on ILO (International Labour Organization) conventions. Its Guarantee System verifies that the values and principles are met across the supply chain.

Now that we are familiar with the different fair trade labels and organizations, let's talk about the good guys - the fashion companies that commit to the people in the supply chain.

Fair Trade Clothing Brands


From: USA
Made in: India
Products: Basics
Certificates: Fair Trade USA, GOTS
Fair Trade: Living wage, safe workplace, community care

Pact is on a mission to build the Earth’s favorite clothing company. They make affordable basics from organic cotton and partner with Fair Trade and GOTS certified factories that provide a living wage, safe working conditions, empower and uplift local communities, and protect the environment.


From: Australia
Made in: India
Products: Clothing and shoes
Certificates: Fairtrade Cotton, GOTS
Fair Trade: Living wage, education, medical help, 10% annual bonus

Etiko is an apparel and footwear business that has had the respect and promotion of human rights at the center of its mission since its foundation in 2005. Certified in 2006, it was the first fair trade clothing company in the southern hemisphere. Its entire product range is vegan - made of Fairtrade and GOTS certified organic cotton.


From: USA
Made in: India
Products: Women’s Underwear
Certificates: Fairtrade, GOTS, OEKO-TEX 100
Fair Trade: Living wage, safe workplace, community care

Knickey is a female-owned brand that started as a search for a healthy, sustainable, and comfortable alternative for that part of the clothing that is directly in touch with the most delicate parts of the female body. It offers underwear from GOTS organic cotton manufactured in Fair Trade Certified factories that pay a living wage and ensure the health and safety of workers. Not only is Knickey known for its impeccable fit, but it also relies on OEKO-TEX to keep your sensitive parts safe at all times.


From: USA
Made in: India
Products: Tops & t-shirts
Certificates: Fairtrade Factory, GOTS
Fair Trade: Living wage, safe workplace, no forced labor, social benefits

CHNGE is a brand that, apart from its fair trade practices, incorporates activism in the clothes they offer - they support women’s rights, act against racism, supports BLM, and proclaim saving the planet. Its clothing is produced in a Fairtrade certified factory that guarantees fair wages, no forced labor, safe working conditions, and the right to form trade unions. Overtime work in the factory is voluntary and is paid double the hourly rate. On top of that, employees get additional social benefits such as health services and social insurance.


From: New Zealand
Made in: India, New Zealand
Products: Everyday basics
Certificates: Fairtrade Cotton, SA8000
Fair Trade: Fair wage, safe workplace, worker rights

Kowtow’s essential line is timeless and chic. It is engaged with a slow production chain, where its collections take 18 months from design to delivery. Its organic cotton is certified by Fairtrade International. Kowtow has only ever worked with two cotton manufacturers in India where it provides fair wages and pays a premium on every single cotton garment. In addition, its production facilities are SA8000 certified which means workers receive benefits such as social security fund, pension fund, paid holiday leave, sick pay, medical insurance, subsidized lunches, overtime pay, and workplace unions.

Passion Lilie

From: USA
Made in: India
Products: Everyday wear, dresses, outerwear
Certificates: FTF member, GOTS Cotton
Fair Trade: Living wage, safe and healthy workplace

Named after the flower that is the universal symbol of honesty, Passion Lilie offers classic designs, made in a way that cares for both the planet and the people in the production line. Each item is ethically handmade in small batches by craftspeople dedicated to preserving heritage techniques. It works with producers in India that pay fair wages and ensure the health and safety of workers.

People Tree

From: Europe
Made in: Bangladesh
Products: Essentials, dresses, underwear
Certificates: WFTO member, Fairtrade Cotton, GOTS
Fair Trade: Living wage, no child labor

People Tree started in 1991 and since then it has always strived for fair trade practices and ways to help the planet and its workers. Its line is contemporary and chic with a unique everyday spirit and look. People Tree is GOTS certified, uses Fairtrade Cotton, and is a proud member of the WFTO Guarantee System. Another great perk is its vegan-friendly collection.

Little Green Radicals

From: UK
Made in: India
Products: Kids and baby (0 to 8 years)
Certificates: Fairtrade, GOTS Cotton
Fair Trade: Living wage, no child labor

Little Green Radicals began with the simple idea of making beautiful children's clothing. They have made it their manifesto to make clothes the right way. They ship clothes in plastic-free packages, export their production via ships to reduce carbon footprint and their clothes are unisex.

Mata Traders

From: USA
Made in: India, Nepal
Products: Dresses
Certificates: WFTO member
Fair Trade: Living wage, no child labor

Mata Traders offers contemporary and feminine clothing designs. It empowers women from India and Nepal by giving them meaningful work and economic independence. The brand is size-inclusive and you can find XXS to 3XL clothes.

Studio JUX

From: The Netherlands
Made in: Nepal, China, Bangladesh
Products: Apparel & footwear
Certificates: GOTS Cotton
Fair Trade: Living wage, safe and healthy workplace

JUX in German means “fun” in German and that’s what Studio JUX tries to convey with its designs. It is also size-inclusive. A card with a “handshake” is included in every garment – this means that you can go online and “meet” the tailor who made your garment via a personal card Studio JUX has created on their website.


From: USA
Made in: Cambodia
Products: Zero-waste clothing
Certificates: WFTO member
Fair Trade: Living wage

Tonlé is a female-owned USA brand for women’s clothes that is striving for a zero-waste production process – they use remnant textiles that other larger factories consider waste. It is size-inclusive - you can find garments from XS to 3XL.


From: USA
Made in: Vietnam, Thailand, Bangladesh
Products: Outdoor clothing and gear
Certificates: Fair Trade Sewn™ Certified, Bluesign® Approved
Fair Trade: Living Wage (partially), safe workplace, no forced labor, no child labor

Patagonia Inc. is a US outdoor apparel and sports equipment manufacturer that has been pioneering the corporate eco-activist movement since the mid-70s. It is a founding member of the FLA (Fair Labour Association) and as such it has builds a socially responsible program to support its workers and pays special attention to health and safety at the workplace. Patagonia shows support to its migrant workers and strictly prohibits forced and child labor in the supply chain. It pays a living wage in some (but not all) of its final stage production and also pay a premium to garment workers for each Fair Trade Sewn™ item.


From: Canada
Made in: Egypt
Products: Basics
Fair Trade: Living wage, community support

KOTN’s mission is to change how things are made. Better for the people, better for the planet. Our products are made with the principles of considered design, relentless quality, honest value, and positive impact. The brand works with NGOs in the farming communities in Egypt to provide quality education for the children there.

Sorella Organics

From: Australia
Made in: Australia, Fiji, India
Products: Sleepwear and loungewear
Certificates: Fair Trade USA, GOTS
Fair Trade: Living wage

Sorella Organics is an independent Australian label. “Slow production” means that they take time to plan their process in order to reduce textile waste. They have been awarded honorary membership to Ethical Fashion Forum’s Fellowship 500.

Beaumont Organic

From: UK
Made in: EU
Products: Luxury women’s clothing
Certificates: GOTS
Fair Trade: Living wage, locally produced

Beaumont Organic only works with factories in the EU which pay fair wages and provide good working conditions for their staff. It produces locally in order to reduce carbon footprint as much as possible. The brand offers a great variety of women’s clothes with formal and everyday lines.


From: Germany
Made in: Thailand
Products: Harem pants, loungewear
Certificates: WTFO member, GOTS
Fair Trade: Living wage, no child labor, fair working hours

Paigh designs clothes that make people feel like they are on holiday while going through their everyday lives. This means that Paigh’s clothes give the freedom to move carefree. While caring about how we feel, the brand also cares for the planet as it uses packaging that is made of recycled plastic or tissue paper.


From: USA
Made in: Mexico, USA
Products: Basics, Loungewear
Fair Trade: Living wages, safe workplace

LACAUSA’s designs offer romantic silhouettes with contemporary twists. While they aim to keep the core of their manufacturing in the local Los Angeles community, they do produce a small percentage of our raw goods and garments with trusted partners overseas that provide fair, livable wages, and healthy, humane working conditions for all team members. The brand supports different causes like Black Lives Matter, Lunch On Me, Downtown Women’s Center, Garment Worker Center, etc.