Rich buttery cream is the best way to describe the color and leather of my Fortress of Inca shoes. The company’s collection of leather footwear is not extensive but the quality of their products is solid and beautiful. I have had my pair for nearly a year and they have only gotten better within that time.
This particular style is sold out but you can find similar here or here.
Fortress of Inca was created to provide a US marketplace for handcrafted shoes made in Peru. The company has worked with family-owned and operated factories since their establishment in 2010. They believe strongly in quality craftsmanship, timeless design, fair wages, and good working conditions for all workers.
If you live in Austin, TX you can go to Fortress of Inca’s brick and mortar shop. If not, you can still shop online through their website or visit one of their many retail partners nationwide.
One of my colleagues liked my shoes so much, she became a convert and now we are Fortress twins! Her Carmen Style is still available for purchase.
October is Fair Trade month, making it a perfect time to dip your toe into exploring ethical clothing. Pact Apparel is a fair trade company that makes basics for men and women out of organic cotton. They sell casual bottoms, colorful tees, cute socks, cozy hoodies, and underwear. They also make comfortable and timeless dresses for ladies. Best of all, they are very affordable with most everything on their site under $50!
Men’s Crew Neck Tee and Classic Hoodie (make sure to check out their sale section too!)
The classic Black Wrap Dress can be styled numerous ways because it is such a versatile piece. They also have a gorgeous fit and flare dress. Both dresses are only $40 each.
I am also really loving their cable sweaters and cardigans. The best part? In honor of fair trade month, shipping is free and you will also receive 20% off if you spend $100 or more using the discount code “fairtrade.”
Global Mamas is a fair trade retailer that makes clothing, accessories, and skin care. They also have a colorful collection of ties, bandanas, and leashes for pets. Their dog ties are only $9 and can work for any size pooch because it slides over the collar. I love my furbaby’s tie because it does not get in his way and somehow it makes him even cuter.
Like many other fair trade companies, Global Mamas is focused on empowering women by providing economic opportunities. All of their products are hand-crafted in Ghana and the profits go right back to support the local community. As you browse through their website you can shop for beautiful handcrafted apparel/accessories and see the women who make the products.
Global Mama’s also sells children’s clothing in bold and vibrant prints, similar to the material used for women’s apparel. Last year I bought the below dress for my niece and she absolutely loved it!
Photo Credit: All images are the author’s personal photos.
A common misconception surrounding conscious consumerism is the lack of stylish or affordable options. This might have been true years ago but now there are numerous “ethical” companies that sell fashionable items and “mainstream” companies adopting ethical initiatives. Finding companies that align with your beliefs are just a few clicks or swipes away. The Good Trade website and The Good On You app are excellent tools for checking and browsing fashion brands impact on people, animals, and the planet.
I was recently on a quest to discover sneakers that were cute enough to wear on casual workdays and sturdy enough to run in (if I were to ever run.) I had previously bought sandals from artisan cooperatives that I really liked but had yet to discover a sneaker that met my sourcing standards and budget. When I used the Good On You app to search shoe brands that were ranked “good” or better, I learned about all the steps the Adidas company has recently taken to improve their environmental impact and labor standards. Adidas is committed to being more sustainable and reducing their carbon footprint; they can also trace the majority of their supply chain.
I think it is important to communicate with companies, expressing your support and/or desire to see change. However, our dollars are sometimes the loudest voices we have so I sent Adidas an appreciative and encouraging email…then I bought a pair of shoes.
Adidas Cloudfoam Racer Sneakers are super light and comfortable for all day wear.
I hope Adidas takes action to ensure living wages to the workers throughout all their supply chains and I will remind them that this is important issue for me as a consumer. They also need to speed up their sustainable timetable to meet their 2020 detox goal. That being said, we also have to demonstrate our approval of mainstream companies taking steps in the right direction and hope in doing so, more companies will follow suit.
Photo Credit: Author’s personal image.