Studying sustainability

Frances Marinetto, a local Welsh Baccalaureate student who recently visited our shop, explains her project on sustainability in fashion


Fair Do’s is one of my local shops; I have used it from a young age, noticing the uniqueness of the stock compared to other shops. I always knew that Fairtrade was a lot more than just bananas and chocolate, having learnt in primary school about the way in which Fairtrade operated. I was interested in the fact that Fairtrade products were hidden on supermarket shelves with their distinct blue and green logo, marking them out as different. I knew that Fairtrade meant a better price for workers. Fair Do’s was fascinating because of the sheer variety of products; jewellery, clothes, food, gifts and music. The quality of products was good and the shopping experience different to anything I had seen before, with a more mindful approach to consuming.

When I began my A Level Welsh Baccalaureate Independent Project, I wanted to focus on an issue surrounding climate change. I decided to combine two of my interests: fashion and sustainability. I aimed to research and investigate sustainable practices. I have a desire to become more sustainable in my fashion choices as I realised the huge amounts of textiles thrown away and the problems within the fur and leather industries.

My first thought, when I started to research was Fairtrade. I knew that they were setting a standard for ethical practice and that there is a great variety of Fairtrade clothes on the market. I decided to focus on Fair Do’s, a completely Fairtrade shop which also stocked clothing. I wanted to know how Fairtrade clothes were made, and what the Fairtrade supply chain looked like. By examining fairly made clothes, I could see what standard was being set and examine how more sustainable practices can be filtered into the popular high-street shops.

I interviewed the manager of Fair Do’s, Jan and toured the fashion section of the shops. I found out about the variety of clothes: baby grows with 100% organic cotton, traditional African clothing with printed fabrics in rainbow colours, Nepalese garments and jewellery. The range of countries, regions and types of clothing surprised me. Fairtrade is also inclusive of people with additional needs as well as shaping and building communities. I found out that one of the ten principles of Fairtrade is respect for the environment. Therefore, sustainability and Fairtrade are intrinsically linked. This is why Fairtrade has become an important part of my project. I realised that along with high-fashion leaders like Stella McCartney and Vivienne Westwood, Fairtrade collectives were leading ethical fashion advances. I learnt that in order to move forward, more thought needs to be put into what we consume. Whether that’s buying Fairtrade or second hand or researching about the origins and impact of certain products before purchasing. I came to some important conclusions in my project about how the fashion industry is changing. Local shops like Fair Do’s are important and they are unique in the sense that consumers know that products are completely ethical.

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