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Stand Up for Farmers in Fairtrade School Uniform!

Here at fairandfunky we’re very proud to be partners with a number of Fairtrade organisations. We’re particularly proud of our partnership with Koolskools and encourage all schools we work with to embrace Fairtrade uniform. Today we welcome Andy from Koolskools to the guest blog for Fairtrade Fortnight so that you too can discover that affordable Fairtrade school uniform is a reality!

 

“When we started our Fairtrade clothing project back in 2010, Koolskools wanted to prove to UK school students that it IS possible to build a totally ethical Fairtrade company in the notoriously exploitative global textiles industry. An integral part of an entirely unique Fairtrade clothing project, is to share experiences with the consumers of the future.

 

Koolskools wanted to prove that we could succeed as a business, but at the same time ensure that:

 

  1. all Fairtrade cotton farmers could get a fair price for what they produce, with benefits to their communities through the Fairtrade social premium; and

 

  1. b) all factory workers could receive fair pay and work in decent conditions.

 

Andy with Pamela Intelligent, a seamstress at the Koolskools Fairtrade-licensed factory, after sharing her inspirational life-story with Scottish school students.

Andy with Pamela Intelligent, a seamstress at the Koolskools Fairtrade-licensed factory, after sharing her inspirational life-story with Scottish school students.

Koolskools work with an increasing number of schools throughout the UK, sharing our story through innovative Fairtrade education partnerships, whilst supplying said schools with high quality and affordable Fairtrade cotton school uniform.

 

Wonderful Fairtrade-licensed factories in Mauritius have been Koolskools’ manufacturing bedrock since they first became licensed to import Fairtrade cotton garments in September 2010. Their factories have always paid their workers at least 20% above the national minimum wage, and the working conditions are good.

 

The big brands could do a lot more to insist on better working conditions in their factories.

 

Mike and Andy of Koolskools have always worked with like-minded, ethical factories.

Mike and Andy of Koolskools have always worked with like-minded, ethical factories.

Koolskools make regular visits to our factories, and speak to the workers without management present to seek assurances about their working conditions. In most “sweatshop” factories, by contrast, the workers are forbidden to speak to Western buyers.

 

The challenge for Koolskools has always been to get our story and what we do out to more UK schools, but with a growing UK-wide group of Koolskools Ambassadors like fairandfunky, this is now beginning to happen.

 

Little Fairtrade cotton uniform hubs are beginning to develop for Koolskools around the country. Mike from Koolskools will be visiting one such growing hub during Fairtrade Fortnight – Holmfirth, West Yorkshire.

 

Helen and Sophie of fairandfunky after meeting Andy for a Fairtrade coffee in Holmfirth!

Helen and Sophie of fairandfunky after meeting Andy for a Fairtrade coffee in Holmfirth!

West Yorkshire is a growing hub for Fairtrade uniform which has been assiduously cultivated by fairandfunky on Koolskools behalf. For example, Honley High School embraced Koolskools Fairtrade uniform last year, and are offering their parents/students the chance to buy Koolskools embroidered school polo shirts online. So it is great that Honley High will be hosting the exciting fairandfunky Fairtrade Fortnight 2017 Schools Conference on 2 March.

 

Koolskools will be enthusiastically participating in the 2 March fairandfunky Fairtrade Conference, and hoping that more West Yorkshire schools will be embracing Fairtrade school uniform as a result!”

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