Saturday, 3 August 2013

Fair Trade hats by Pachacuti

A couple of weekends ago I popped to Who's Next, a big fashion trade show held 4 times a year in Paris. First on my list of exhibitors to see was Pachacuti, an ethical hat company that specialises in panama hats. The company was founded by Carry Somers in 1992, and nowadays the range includes floppy summer hats, hats with beautiful big feathers, and felt fedoras, among many other classic designs.

It was great to meet Carry and have a chat about how the hats are made, including the sourcing of high-quality customised ribbons that are produced in Devon, as well as the long search for an ethical source of feathers. Pachacuti is the only Fair Trade hat specialist in the UK, and works with women's associations in Ecuador. The women are given training as well as many other benefits including healthcare, pension schemes and access to specialists such as lawyers or social workers.

The panama hats themselves are available in different versions, with the option of paying extra for a finer weave. Many of them can also be rolled for storage while traveling!

Carry Somers has recently teamed up with Orsolo de Castro to establish Fashion Revolution Day in order to commemorate the Rana Plaza disaster. The first Fashion Revolution Day will be the 24th April 2014, and it is hoped that industry professionals and individuals will get involved, to 'celebrate good practice, raise awareness of key issues and continue to campaign for change'. You can find the website here and the Twitter here.

Sadie xxx

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