Not long ago I went to a Fair Trade Student Summit hosted by the Chicago Fair Trade organization to hear about different ways some Chicago universities are implementing the sale of fair trade certified objects in their bookstores and cafes! After hearing all the great things some other students had to say about their fair trade organizations and what they do on campus, I hope that Columbia will at some point be able to make some of the changes necessary to become a fair trade certified school. While at the summit, I met Ben Anderson. Ben was presenting some fair trade bags from the company he works for, CAUSEGEAR, and that is the brand I will be telling you about today!
CAUSEGEAR is a pretty incredible company. Designed in Chicago and made in India, CAUSEGEAR’s mission is to transform the lives of one million people trapped in unfathomable poverty & injustice to become self-sustaining. With 2.8 billion people living in extreme poverty, 35.8 million of them are slaves, and 40% of these slaves are in India. For the most part, the fashion industry is dominated by $2.12hr/day jobs in India. When these jobs don’t pay for the essentials (food, water, clothing, housing, medical & education), many workers go onto the wrong path led by a lie, only to be kidnapped and sold as slaves. The CAUSEGEAR model is different than most. For each worker in India that CAUSEGEAR employs, they are being paid 5x the norm providing the potential to pay for essentials and ending the need for hand-outs.
“GOOD JOBS SUPPORT A PATHWAY OUT OF POVERTY AND THE MEANS FOR SELF-RELIANCE”
sweater: thrifted // denim: thrifted // bracelet: Mantra Band // tote: CAUSEGEAR
CAUSEGEAR has a wide range of products from sport packs, to day bags, to messenger bags. My bag is the Charcoal Canvas Tote listed at the totally affordable price of $39. I’ve acquired a lot of tote bags in my life, but this is honestly my favorite one to date. Not only is it the ideal size, but the leather straps are long enough for the bag to hang comfortably under my arm. After getting a few good uses out of it, it holds everything I typically bring with me when I leave my apartment and I can tell it’s going to last. I picked the basic black tote as my started bag, but I’m looking forward to getting the Leather Laptop Case and possibly a Boyfriend Shirt Bag!
When you purchase an item from CAUSEGEAR, you are supporting this great company that is aiding in the mission to help provide essential needs for each crafter and his or her family. For each bag purchased, there is a tag on the inside giving you the name of the person who made your bag! You can read your crafter’s own personal story on Crafter Profile page on the CAUSEGEAR website.
My tote was made by Zubair!
Why would anyone go out and buy an unethically made, and most likely higher priced, ordinary bag when you could purchase one of these ethical, sturdy, and affordable bags that supports workers in India live better lives and keeps them away from turning to slavery? It honestly seems like a no brainer to me!
This post was not sponsored by CAUSEGEAR. Photography by Elisha Knight.