It's Fashion Revolution Week and the 51st Earth Day is today! Suffice it to say, we are busy with celebrations and customers who are interested in how to increase their eco-footprint in shopping. The time for change is now, and it's urgent. So, I want to take some time this week to share our vision here at Lucia's for sustainability and ethics in shopping, through a few new R's of the sustainability movement.
We're doing away with the idea that to make meaningful change, you have to adapt to the flow of commercialism in western society or give into climate change causing factors. Instead, we can bring back our relationships with the earth and with the people in it for eco-friendly changes that will have a lasting impact.
Through fair trade, we believe that by using sustainable materials, fair trade shows a respect for the rights of nature. By knowing the names and stories of the people who make our goods in close relationship, we gain a renewal of spirit in a global economy. These together will help to meet the 2021 goals of revolution to industry and restoration to the earth proposed by Fashion Revolution, Earth Day, and their partners.
When companies place the rights of the people they employ and the rights of the environment as the number one priority, only good things can be in store. Frankly, the vast majority of businesses simply don't believe that their employees, suppliers, or materials have rights or deserve respect at all. Value is solely placed in profit margins and shareholder meetings. And for a business to run these things are important! But in my mind forgetting the value of the goods you offer, why you make them, and the joy of providing opportunities for people is a high price to pay for a production cost cut. This kind of "fast fashion" commercialism also doesn't lead to any benefits for the customer. It only leads to cheaply made items that don't last or don't serve their function well.
However, when the rights of producers and the environments where they source their materials are restored, everything changes. Goods gain a higher quality. Shopping feels like doing good. The customer develops a connection with their items that can last a lifetime.
When you see the rights of people and the planet, naturally you begin to appreciate them and relationship follows. This close relationship between companies, producers, customers, and resources is the next step in creating a sustainable world.
Our relationship with our producers starts when our owner, Teresa, opened Lucia’s after seeing the social, political and economic mistreat of many indigenous inhabitants of rural Guatemala during her studies there. By sharing their beaded jewelry, pottery, and weaving, she gave these talented Guatemalans a platform to change their situations. Maria, a jewelry artisan, was able to tell Teresa about an abusive partner, and through partnership with Lucia’s, she is now able to provide a safe home for her children. Another beader, Josefa, has provided for her children to attend university as the breadwinner in her household, showing the power of investing in women. Macario, a skilled weaver, was able to send all four of his children school, breaking a generational cycle of poverty. Other artisans have opened workshops or developed new products like the popular Sugar Skull Skeleton Mug which highlights traditional skills and culture in a modern design. When Teresa started Lucia’s, she never imagined the impact it would have on an entire community. We’re all excited to see what will come as generations of empowered Guatemalans embrace their full potential through fair trade.
Restoration and Revolution
It's nice to hear that fair trade products foster sustainable actions and relationships with producers. But could that really be enough to change things on a scale as large as global climate change? We're here to argue, absolutely yes it can! The foundation of commercialism is the detachment of a good from its maker. Restoring this relationship makes it harder and harder to do things "the easy way." When a consumer is faced with the name and story of the person or ecosystem that their item is hurting, it becomes much more difficult to purchase it. On the other hand, when a consumer is faced with the name and story of the person or ecosystem that their item is helping and supporting, it becomes much easier to purchase it. In this way, some of the biggest contributors to climate change are forced into sustainability with a much lower possibility of greenwashing.