Where Fair Trade and Green meet!

Now that it’s a New Year, what are your resolutions? By buying greener products and committing to more environmentally friendly practices in 2011, you’re not only buying good for the planet, you’re also keeping yourself, your family, and the artisan communities healthy!  Check out these 5 ways that Marketplace is green.

1. Using patterns that are less wasteful

If you’ve ever bought Markeptlace kurtas or salwars, you’ll immediately realize that they’re super comfortable.  And if you’ve talked to most women in India, you’ll know that they are designed to last a lifetime—and flatter your figure throughout it. So, with kurtas, you can stay stylish and look good even when the holidays come and go!  More importantly, MarketPlace kurtas and salwars are cut in straight lines and designed so that there is little waste of fabric. Normally, clothing pattens waste 15% of the fabric it is cut from. With MarketPlace, that waste is cut down upon when we design many of our tops and pants.

2.  Recycled clothing and accessories

So what do we do with that extra fabric that does fall onto the cutting room floor?  Marketplace makes it a priority to ensure that these scraps don’t go to waste.  For example, the Marketshare Bag is made 100% with recycled scraps and represents empowerment, fair trade, and sustainable change.  The Red Patchwork Lunch Sack and the Blue Patchwork Malika Lunch Bags are also hand-dyed surprises of uniquely made bags entirely with leftover fabrics!  By buying one of these lunch bags or the Marketshare bag, you’ve saved the scraps from going to a landfill!

3. Marketplace’s famous yearly quilt raffle.

Several times each year, Marketplace has a tradition of raffling off a gorgeous, handmade quilt that is made with a patchwork of different clothing and fabric scraps from past inventory.  This year, Mickey Robertson was the winner of one of these beautiful quilts!  Not only did she win this quilt that will brighten up her home, but the raffle proceeds provided low-income women and their children a better lifestyle and prevented unsold handmade clothes going to waste.  Make sure you keep your eye out for the raffle ticket announcements later this year!

4. Kalamkari products

Marketplace sells many products that are printed with natural dyes extracted from plants.  Kalmkari is a type of hand-printed or block-printed cotton textile and has a very interesting history to it.  Centuries ago in India, groups of artists, singers, entertainers etc. would travel from village to village to tell stories of Hindu mythology.  Eventually, they began illustrating these stories on canvas using basic dyes from plants and this is when Kalamkari was born.  Kalamkari is a multi-step process and is very time consuming!  First the fabric is immersed in a mix of resin and cow milk.   A point in bamboo soaked in a mix of jagri and water, or a block of wood, is then used to make individual contours and designs.  The vegetable dyes are applied by color, with the fabric being washed in between each application of the colors.  Check out a few of the Marketplace items that are made with Kalamkari fabric and continue the Indian tradition from centuries ago with the Shilpa Dress, the Reversible Samira Jacket or the Garima Skirt!

5. Sustainable Practices

Marketplace artisans practice sustainable, environmentally friendly practices everyday that contributes to making Marketplace a green organization!  The work is always done in a small group in a nonfactory environment and produced in small batches.  This practice is unlike large, sweatshop factories that produce mainstream items that are found in large retail stores.  Marketplace artisans mostly work from home so that they can maintain their household chores which cuts down on all kinds of transportation and overhead costs such as electricity.

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