Group to promote fair trade goods at sale

Lauren Carll

Unique hand-made jewelry, scarves and handbags are not what fashion students typically see on a given Wednesday in the Rockwell Hall Atrium.

But this Wednesday is not just another Wednesday. Items from The Market Path, a store in Akron that sells a wide range of fairly traded goods from around the world, will be displayed on tables and available for purchase from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m.

Allison Tranter, a senior fashion merchandising major and Fashion Student Organization president, said the organization decided to host this event because its members believe in the importance of fair trade.

“We are just trying to raise awareness about fair trade since it does have such a big impact on the fashion industry,” Tranter said.

Tranter said “unfair” trade is when artisans from underdeveloped countries are used for their labor and are not fairly paid to survive in their economy. She said she thinks it is important to support the artisans and purchase some of their one-of-a-kind items.

According to its Web site, The Market Path seeks to provide a place of honesty and integrity, as well as uphold the practices of fair trade marketing. It represents artisans and farmers from approximately 30 countries, but most of its goods come from Africa, Asia and Latin America. It also sells and hopes to support local artisans’ work.

Tranter said she was able to work with The Market Path employees and pick which items would be sold at the event.

“I was in the store for hours, and I fell in love with everything,” Tranter said as she flashed a bright smile. “The items are a little bit more expensive, though, because the point of fair trade is to pay fair wages to the artisans. But there are no items that are unaffordable by any means.”

Tranter said she also enjoys purchasing fair trade items because most of them come with a unique description.

“The really cool thing about fair trade is that if you buy an item online or in a store, you’re able to actually see the exact person that made it,” she said with enthusiasm. “You can see their country and city, and see what the money they made has done for their family and for themselves.”

This is Fashion Student Organization’s first fair trade event.

Contact fashion reporter Lauren Carll at [email protected].