One thing we hope you all know (or come to learn) when shopping with KNOWN SUPPLY is that we exist to create a positive impact in the world. Specifically, we started our work in fashion over 15 years ago to help provide life-changing wages to vulnerable individuals and communities through the creation of our clothing. That is a tradition that we have not compromised since our founding.
To ensure we are creating this intended impact, we partner with a number of certifying groups to ensure our values are carried out at every stage in our products creation. (You can read HERE about our clothing certifications and why we believe they are important)
One of the groups that is vital to ensuring the positive impacts of our garments is Fair Trade USA — a non-profit group that sets standards, does consistent audits with suppliers, and helps create targets / improvement plans for producers. Here’s a quick overview of what it means for brands like us to be Fair Trade Certified:
When products are created at Fair Trade Certified facilities, brands pay an additional fee (generally, a percentage of the purchase price) to a “Fair Trade Fund”. This fund is managed by a group of democratically elected employees at the facility, and they are tasked with establishing the best, most relevant ways for those funds to be distributed to the garment makers, their families, and their communities.
Here are some highlights of how different Fair Trade partners of ours utilized these premiums to create impact in their communities. And to be clear, these funds are provided in addition to living wages being provided.
Connoisseur Fashions — Chennai, India
Scholarships & Educational Financial Assistance — Based on feedback from the employee population the Fair Trade Committee created a scholarship and grant program to help reimburse fees for garment workers’ children. This is an investment in the future livelihoods of families.
Laptops & Wifi Access — Laptops were purchased to give children additional training and preparedness with technology for their ongoing education.
ASI — Shanghai, China
Free Clinic & Health Checkup — The Fair Trade Committee at ASI (who produces much of our headwear) concluded that the best use of Fair Trade funds was to provide a clinic and health screening for all employees.
Rajlakshmi Cotton Mills — Noida
Home Appliance Distribution — Based on a needs assessment survey taken with the employee population the Fair Trade Committee decided to provide refrigerators at a discounted rate to employees and their families. This will not only allow for better efficiency in buying and keeping food, but it will also result in healthier diets.
Financial Support — Additionally, it was decided that additional funds would be provided from the Fair Trade premiums to each of the employees to promote further economic security.
Rajlakshmi Cotton Mills — Kolkata
Education Scholarship Project — In this case a scholarship fund was created to help support employees’ children in their pursuit of higher education through scholarships and grants.
Puja Festival Gift — Based on a needs assessment to meet the additional expenses generated by the Durga Puja Festival (one of the main festivals in their state) the Fair Trade committee provided a disbursement of cash to all employees.
Healthy Food — To help increase the standard of living, a cash disbursement was made to provide better food and household goods. This was a short term project to encourage better, more healthy habits.