So, what is the difference? Often used interchangeably, ethical and sustainable fashion do have a thing or two that set them apart from one another. Ethical fashion is concerned with the welfare and livelihoods of workers, for example ensuring fair wages and working conditions, cultural preservation, investing in training, resources and community development and adhering to labor laws, such as no child labor. Sustainable fashion is concerned with the impact on the environment, such as materials used, reducing, reusing, recycling or upcycling. Together, these terms encompass care and concern for both people and the planet.
Here at Matr Boomie, we incorporate and where possible, prioritize both these aspects in our business. Our products are ethically handcrafted by artisan makers. We work with artisan makers in at-risk or marginalized communities to provide dignified employment opportunities in artforms that often support the culture of the people that make them. Many of the artforms used in creating our products are traditional to the native land and people and are passed on from one generation to the next. If however, the demand for products decreases this leads to a dismantling of such artisan groups, as they need to find other work (often away from their families or communities), in order to provide for their families. This type of employment also allows women a seat at the table in otherwise patriarchal societies. They can do work they enjoy, build community, gain skills and confidence, while being able to provide for their families and take care of the needs of their children. We are a member of the Fair Trade Federation and adhere to their principles and standards including providing fair wages and community development resources.
Many items from our fair trade collection of fashion jewelry, accessories, home goods, garden and patio decor and gifts are made using materials which are sustainably sourced, cruelty-free, upcycled or recycled. Our upcycled sari products (bags, scarves, hair accessories, trims) are made from repurposed sari fabrics. The sari is a traditional Indian dress, worn by wrapping yards of fabric around the body. Certain fabrics and styles are for everyday wear, while others use luxury fabrics and embellishments for special occasion wear, for example for weddings and festivals. Artisans repurpose old discarded, everyday wear saris into beautiful, functional products. Our picture frames are made using cruelty-free bone, collected from naturally deceased animals. Our paper products are made from recycled cotton scraps waste from the textile industry, which is processed into a pulp and then made into smooth paper. The water from this process if also filtered and recycled for irrigation in farming practices. These processes are more sustainable, eco or environmentally-friendly because there is less use of virgin or new materials with a focus on reusing materials already available.