Fair Trade Bucks the Recession
20 Oct 2009
Whilst many retailers are closing stores or even leaving the High Street altogether, Fair Trade Fashion pioneer Bishopston Trading Company, has announced plans for expansion.
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Whilst many retailers are closing stores or even leaving the High Street altogether, Fair Trade Fashion pioneer Bishopston Trading Company, has announced plans for expansion with the opening of a 5th store. To the delight of green fashionistas and ethical consumers throughout the West Country, Bishopston Trading’s collection of Fair Trade organic cotton clothing is now available from 11 High Street in Malmesbury, Wiltshire.
Bishopston Trading Company has worked in partnership with the South Indian village of K.V.Kuppam for 24 years, providing long-term, stable employment to hundreds of local villagers. The original inspiration for the business was a simple statement made by one of the villagers, that as skilled craftspeople they need work, not charity: this has remained the founding principle of the business since then.
The recent collapse of the global economic system based on short-term profits and disregard for the welfare of communities, has only served to further motivate Bishopston Trading Company to extend its business model, which is based on partnership, transparency and fairness. The Malmesbury shop will be the latest addition to the South West chain that includes shops in Totnes, Glastonbury, Bradford on Avon and Bristol as well as a thriving Mail Order business.
Bishopston provides the design skills, marketing and capital investment. The community in KV Kuppam supplies the weaving and tailoring skills. From small beginnings with six people working in the tailoring unit, the business has grown to the point where Bishopston now provides full time employment for 230 tailors, cutters, hand finishers, embroidery and craft workers. In addition there are 200 handloom weavers who produce the beautiful cloth that is used to make the clothes.
The Fairtrade certified cotton which Bishopston use, is grown by small-scale farmers in partnership with Agrocel, in northern India. The cotton is organic which in itself brings great benefits to the farmers and pickers. All of Bishopston’s products carry the well-known Fairtrade mark that we all recognise from our Fairtrade tea, coffee, bananas and chocolate ñ it enables customers to be sure that their purchases are making a positive difference to the lives of producers in developing countries.
Bishopston has set up Trusts both here and in India, through which profits made in the UK, are channelled back to benefit the people of K V Kuppam. Workers receive an above average wage, allowance for healthcare, provident fund, gratuity, sickness benefit and the use of a crche on site.
Bishopston produces a very distinctive range of designs in wonderful colours for men, women, young children and babies. Clothes are made from pure cotton velvet and corduroy, denim, calico and handwoven cloth. In addition, there is an excellent selection of bags, accessories, bedding, cushions and children’s toys.
With concern about the environmental and social effects of our shopping habits increasing everyday, Fair Trade makes sense, and is becoming the first choice for discerning shoppers. Bishopston is proud to be expanding during these challenging economic times.
For further information:
193 Gloucester Road, Bristol, BS7 8BG
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