Thursday, April 22, 2010

New Loan to Indigenous Designs for Groundbreaking Project

Former RSF borrower Indigenous Designs has just received another loan from RSF, this time in the form of a Program-Related Investment (PRI). Indigenous Designs is a Fair Trade and certified organic apparel company that sources from over 1,000 hand-knitting artisans located primarily in South America. The new loan from RSF will specifically support Indigenous Designs as they work with TransFair USA to create the very first standards and procedures for a U.S. apparel and home goods Fair Trade certification. The program with TransFair aims to provide an opportunity to create new “Best in Class” methods surrounding supply chains for Fair Trade and organic certifications in the clothing industry. Two of the major goals of Indigenous Designs’ involvement in the project include empowering and protecting the farmers and artisans producing the cotton, materials, and clothes, as well as educating the public about organic and Fair Trade apparel.

For Indigenous, their supply chain often begins with a farmer in the field where chemical-free organic cotton is grown. The organic cotton then migrates into the hands of the artisans who knit the fibers into garments, which are finally made available to the consumer. Since their founding in 1994, Indigenous has been a leader in responsibly sourcing natural and organic fibers. “Pioneering companies like Indigenous Designs will pave the way for consumers to demand more information about working conditions at factories and farms where their clothes are made,” says Todd Stark, TransFair COO, of the collaborative project between the two organizations.

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