MotherTongues: Wear Words, Celebrate Cultures

about words, languages, cultures, travel

Why choose Fair Trade for MotherTongues? July 4, 2013

Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world.

It has now been about 5 years since I switched the MotherTongues t-shirts to print on 100% organic cotton t-shirts. I made this switch after we visited Australia, learned about the word Dadirri, and realized that if I want MotherTongues to be an example of the life-affirming words printed on the t-shirts, I need to use sustainable, eco-friendly apparel. I also realized that printing words about social justice, means that I need to use t-shirts made with fair labor.

Why go to all the effort to find Fair Trade t-shirts? Why not just use whatever cheapest t-shirts are available?

As a reminder, the nine principles of Fair Trade are:

1. Create Opportunities for Marginalized Producers
2. Develop Transparent Relationships
3. Build Capacity
4. Promote Fair Trade
5. Pay Promptly and Fairly
6. Support Empowering Working Conditions
7. Ensure Children’s Rights
8. Cultivate Environmental Stewardship
9. Respect Cultural Identity.
Source: http://www.fairtradeprinciples.org/

MotherTongues is committed to values such as fair trade, cultural sensitivity, ecological sustainability and economic justice. In light of these values, going Fair Trade makes sense to MotherTongues.

After a long time of searching, I decided on three suppliers of wholesale apparel and accessories. I’ve been using HaeNow, econscious, and Maggie’s Organics as suppliers of the apparel that I print on. A couple of years ago, Fair Trade USA started their pilot program for Apparel & Linens. HaeNow was one of the first companies, along with prAna, to have their products Fair Trade certified. The Fair Trade Certified Apparel program is the first of its kind, enabling consumers to consider the social, economic and environmental impact when shopping for apparel. This program directly benefits the farmers who grow the cotton and the workers who sew the clothing. MotherTongues is proud to use Fair Trade certified t-shirts. Look for the familiar Fair Trade Certified hang tag on your MotherTongues t-shirts – the same logo as on your coffee.

In the light of the Bangladesh factory incidents, I believe we should all be more aware what we are wearing. I believe that I have a responsibility towards the earth and towards the people making the t-shirts that I sell. I believe that:

environmental consciousness + social responsibility = 100% organic cotton, Fair Trade apparel = sustainable apparel

I know this is a process: there is no such thing as “the perfect t-shirt” and I can only strive to find more sustainable clothing, that is good for the earth and for the people who work in the production process. I know that as a small business, I don’t make a huge impact. But my hope is that together, we can help communities around the world. How wonderful is that.

Remember, every purchase matters!

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A different way of seeing April 19, 2012

The world in which you were born is just one model of reality.

 

MotherTongues Manifesto February 2, 2012

Recently, I came across the Holstee Manifesto that has gotten a lot of media buzz. It has been made into a beautiful poster and a YouTube video and has inspired many people. I bought a Lululemon t-shirt and the (reusable) bag that I received it in, has their inspirational manifesto printed on it.

That made me think about a MotherTongues Manifesto. What is the ethos of MotherTongues? What inspires me to search for life-affirming words? What inspires me to use Fair Trade, organic cotton t-shirts to print these words on? What is the bigger picture? This is what I came up with. I hope you will enjoy, and find some inspiration for your own life!

ethos of a t-shirt company

 

2011 Ethical Holiday Shopping Guide October 28, 2011

I love looking at these companies and all the good that they do. A beautiful Ethical Holiday Shopping Guide, indeed!

 

Mandela Day: what will you do? June 9, 2011

Wikipedia image: Nelson MandelaJuly 18 is Nelson Mandela’s birthday. He will be 93 this year. A couple of years ago, the United Nations adopted the day as an annual Mandela Day. But it is more than a celebration of Madiba’s (his Xhosa clan name and how he is affectionately known in South Africa) life and legacy. Mandela Day asks us all to embrace Madiba’s values and honor his legacy through an act of kindness. How?

Nelson Mandela gave 67 years of his life to the struggle for social justice: serving his community, his country, and the world at large. Mandela Day asks us to donate 67 minutes of time to doing something good, in a small gesture of solidarity with humanity. Can you spare 67 minutes of your life on July 18 to support a charity or serve your local community?

Last year, my mom’s retirement community in South Africa got together on Mandela Day to knit dolls for kids living in poverty. That’s when I realized the influence Madiba had on our country. If the generation who put him behind bars for 27 years, could now serve their communities as an act of honoring Mandela, we’ve come a long way.

Now go do something good. *

* You can find some ideas of what to do, here on the Mandela Day website.

“It is time for the next generations to continue our struggle against social injustice and for the rights of humanity. It is in your hands.” – NELSON MANDELA

 

World Fair Trade Day: May 14 May 15, 2011

I wrote this article about how and why to celebrate World Fair Trade Day. I truly believe with all my heart that Fair Trade is an effective response to poverty. And we need a response, because:

  • More than 1.1 billion people live on less than $1 per day.
  • At least 80% of humanity lives on less than $10 a day.
  • 22 000 children die each day due to poverty.
So weather you watch a video that enlarges your world (I am because we are by Madonna is a wonderful video about Malawi), read a book with your kids to teach them about Fair Trade, hold a Fair Trade coffee break at your place of work, please keep spreading the message about Fair Trade! And keep fair trading your life!
 

 
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