What is fair trade?
Fair trade is an economic system that ensures fair wages and safe, healthy participatory workplaces. It is rooted in a respect for cultural identity and a commitment to both environmental sustainability and community empowerment.
What does this project mean for workers?
Since 2005, we’ve been supporting an alternative supply chain where workers are trained to use hand-operated and industrial knitting machines. Workers in the outlying workshops are given one free knitting machine, and additional looms are available for purchase with zero-interest loans.
This alternative supply chain was designed by Jessica Rodriguez, the entrepreneur behind Art Atlas, specifically to preserve family and community relationships. Workers set up community-based workshops and staff them with neighbors and family members. One workshop may specialize in knitting panels, while another links the parts together. Art Atlas distributes the yarn and supervises the work throughout the process. The pieces are sent back to a central factory for the finishing touches—buttons, labels and other handwork—as well as quality checks and packing.
Art Atlas also works with artisans in the highlands who are skilled in Peruvian textile traditions of knitting and weaving by hand. The artisans are trained to use their skills to earn fair trade wages without having to leave their villages for the city.