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Article: Fair trade and clothing | Measures required in the apparel industry

Fair trade and clothing | Measures required in the apparel industry

What do you imagine when you hear the word fair trade? Food-related images may be common, such as coffee, tea, and chocolate. However, fair trade is now attracting attention not only in food, but also in clothing manufacturing.

 This time, Kapok Knot, a brand that proposes a new lifestyle using natural materials derived from plants, will introduce the relationship between fair trade and clothing manufacturing, and the measures required of the apparel industry.

~Contents of this article~
・What is fair trade?
・Apparel industry and fair trade ・Fair trade required in the apparel industry ・Introduction of fair trade brands ・Kapok knot and fair trade

What is fair trade?

What is fair trade?

Fair trade means "fair and just trade." It refers to trade that aims to make producers and workers independent by purchasing raw materials and products from developing countries at appropriate prices.

 For example, when you go to the supermarket. Have you ever seen food produced in developing countries sold at surprisingly low prices? Behind this low price, there was a reality that producers were not being paid a fair price, and that large amounts of pesticides were used to increase productivity, causing health damage to producers.

In order for producers to continue producing high-quality products, working environments and living standards must be guaranteed. The fair trade framework was conceived based on this awareness of the issue.

Apparel industry and fair trade

Apparel industry and fair trade

When talking about fair trade, people used to think of food. However, fair trade is currently attracting a lot of attention in the apparel industry. The trigger was a tragic accident.

On April 24, 2013, an accident occurred in Bangladesh resulting in over 1,000 casualties. Rana Plaza, a building housing a garment factory near the capital Dhaka, collapsed. The day before the accident, employees at the garment factory discovered cracks in the building's walls and pillars. Although she reported this to her superiors, she was forced to work, and continued to use sewing machines and other machinery the next day. The vibrations caused the building to shake and cause it to collapse.

The apparel industry is the main industry in Bangladesh, accounting for approximately 80% of domestic exports. However, after this collapse accident, it became clear that the working environment was extremely poor. The background to this was the fact that fast fashion brands in developed countries rely on developing countries as labor to mass-produce products at low prices.

As a result, the concept of fair trade, which refers to transactions that are not disadvantageous to producers, has started to attract attention in the apparel industry as well.

Fair trade required in the apparel industry

Fair trade required in the apparel industry

So, what kind of initiatives does fair trade refer to in the apparel industry? The key word is "transparency."

Traditionally, the apparel industry has had a business model based on the division of labor between various companies, including material manufacturers, production factories, logistics companies, and retail stores. As a result, it was not uncommon for companies to be unaware of the production background of their own brand products. However, now that awareness of fair trade is increasing, more and more companies are clarifying the production background, asking, ``Where is this clothing made?''

 "Ethical fashion" and "Sustainable fashion". Have you ever heard of a brand that says these words? "Ethical fashion" literally means "ethical and moral fashion." Specifically, it refers to a brand that is considerate of people and the global environment in all processes, from material selection to production and sales. As the name suggests, "sustainable fashion" refers to "sustainable fashion." This is also a brand that aims to create clothes that can be continued semi-permanently without putting a burden on people or the environment.

By choosing clothes made from ``ethical fashion'' and ``sustainable fashion,'' we can support fair trade initiatives in the apparel industry.

Fair trade brand introduction

Now, we would like to introduce three brands that are actually implementing fair trade initiatives in the areas of "ethical fashion" and "sustainable fashion."

①People Tree

People Tree


A pioneer of ethical fashion in Japan. We are a fair trade specialty brand that manufactures products based on the concept of ``creating a world where everyone, including people and trees, can live fairly.'' Items with the logo are 100% Fair Trade certified products. In addition, we also carry unique organic cotton products that are considerate of the working environment of producers.




An ethical fashion brand founded in the United States. Its feature is "complete transparency". The inside of the production factory, the manufacturing process, and the costs incurred for each product are all disclosed, making it possible to see the profit to the brand for each product. It is a brand that is currently attracting a lot of attention, with the official Japanese website opening from February 2019.




Patagonia is famous for its outdoor sports equipment. We have been working on global environmental issues from an early stage and have been selling items made from recycled resources. As part of our fair trade efforts, we consider the working environment at factories in India, Sri Lanka, and other countries. For every fair trade product sold, we pay a bonus (premium) to the factory, supporting the lives of the workers.

Kapok knots and fair trade

Kapok knots and fair trade

So far, we have introduced the relationship between fair trade and the apparel industry, but Kapok Knot is actually one of the brands that practices fair trade. Kapok, the material we use to make our clothes, is a plant native to Indonesia. As a brand, we know who is involved in which process and how the products are made, from local farms to processing factories to sewing. We also strive to create products that do not place an undue burden on everyone involved.

Choose fair trade clothes!

Fair trade in the apparel industry enriches the lives of people involved in making clothes. If more people choose fair trade products and this idea spreads throughout the industry, more people will be able to live happier lives than they do now. This leads to high-quality manufacturing and returns to us.

Now, let's take the first step towards making fair trade choices with Kapok Knot!

Editor's note

When I was in junior high and high school, there were times when I was saved by fast fashion, which was easy on the wallet. However, I remember having to buy new ones one after another because the stitching was poor and the fabric wore out. High-quality clothes are created because the people who make them are paid a fair price. I want to keep this fair trade concept in mind and choose clothes that I can wear for a long time.