Catholic Student Association hosts fair trade fashion show

Helen Yablonski

Speakers discussed how students can attain sustainability within fashion and everyday life at the Ethical and Fair Trade Fashion show Thursday evening.  

The Kent chapter of Catholic Relief Services and Catholic Student Association held the show at the Schwartz Center to promote fair trade to students.

The fashion show portion of the event included Appalachian Outfitters, CauseGear, The Market Path and Maggie’s Organics.

“You can’t save the world, you can’t know everything about every brand and you can’t trust everything you read, but every time you shop when you got your hand on the hanger, and you’re about to make that purchase —  just stop for a second and think about the person behind that product,” Bena Burda, CEO of Maggie’s Organics said.

Two store owners and supporters of The Market Path, Pat Bell and Pastor Robert Dreese, explained how they describe fair trade to those that visit their store.

“The easiest way to describe fair trade is when a product is discovered somewhere, instead of saying to the person who made it, ‘Hey, I like that! I’ll give you ten cents for it, and I want a thousand by Christmas.’ What I say is, ‘I really like this, how much do you want for it?’” Dreese said.

He went on to further explain that when trade is organized in this fashion, it gives more power to the producer of the product.

“So that the producer is encouraged to take control of the pricing right from the beginning,” Dreese said.

Another speaker was Kent State fashion professor Noel Palomo-Lovinski, who explained her joy in teaching sustainability in fashion class, and how students inspire her.

“I think my favorite part about teaching the sustainability in fashion class is the earnest energy and passion that comes from teaching students about sustainability, most of them didn’t really know about it, they are shocked when we start talking about all the different things that go on,” Lovinski said.

Burda encouraged students to take action and allow their voices to be heard in the word of sustainability.

“Reach beyond yourself and your vision and think big and think as a community,” Burda said, “especially in a campus environment, you have so much power, you have so much influence.”

Overall, the main focus of the event was to encourage students toward a more sustainable buying market, one step at a time.

“If you make a conscious effort to buy one fairly traded item this year, and if you have in the past to do one more than you did last year, that is the way this change is going to work,” Dreese said, “it’s not going to be over night, it’s going to be one purchase at a time.”

Helen Yablonski is the religions reporter. Contact her at [email protected].