HOPE Springs in Thailand: Fair Trade Fashion in Action

Can you save the world through shopping?

HOPE, Fair Fashion in Action was born after Gina and Greg Hope (pictured below with their daughter, Devaki, and their son, Kaivalya) witnessed the natural spirit of giving and receiving one October day in 2006 in India. Kaivalya, then just 4 years old, smiled broadly and handed his too-small clothing to a street boy in New Delhi.

“The transaction was beyond outward beauty,” Gina recalls. “It was inner purity on both sides, completely lacking judgment. It was the true nature of giving and receiving.”

HOPE family

 

Gina and Greg’s idea for HOPE Fair Fashion in Action — a small company based on very big thinking — was crystallized in that instant.

A Fair Trade Federation member company that pays artisans an ethical living wage in the local context, HOPE has taken monumental steps to improve quality of life for craftspeople in Thailand.

“I am now sending my own child to a private preschool,” says Suphin, a 24-year-old silver artisan who works for HOPE. “This is much better than the government school that I went to. Now I am able to plan for my family's future.”
 
Suphin is one of the hard-working women from all over Thailand who create HOPE's unique clothing, jewelry and home decor. Each piece celebrates the interconnection of the global community. With partners like Gaiam, HOPE is building markets for fair trade products and creating a safe, comfortable place to earn a living in dignity.
 
Woman measuring cloth

Today, HOPE tailors and jewelry artisans represent four different indigenous hill tribes from the surrounding areas: Karen, Lawa, Hmong and Akha.

HOPE also gives back in many other ways to the communities where HOPE products are crafted.

Fair trade is not just about paying a living wage in the local context for products at the time you need them,” Gina explains. “It’s also about making a commitment to consistent business by establishing a supportive relationship between artisans and end-users.”

She says the fair trade umbrella includes paying deposits that offset risk and costs incurred by producers. “Most producers are living hand to mouth and cannot buy the materials to actually make a product, especially a large order. So we help give them the opportunity to get ahead.”

Woman making jewelry

Suphin says this lesser-known aspect of fair trade business practices has made a world of difference for her community.

“Many people from our village lost so much when the price of silver dropped,” she recalls. “Now our fair trade partners purchase the silver for us to make the beads, so we don’t have to take that big risk anymore.”

Gina says it’s all part of the plan. “We want to unite global communities that span every culture and geographic boundary through values based on dignity. Understanding and accepting different ways, people and ideas is the very colorful road to a more respectful, safer, kinder world.”
 
Want to support HOPE and its mission? It’s as easy as shopping fair trade for your next clothing, jewelry or gift purchse! Here are just a few of the company’s fair trade products: 
 
 
Fair trade artisans from the Akha Hill Tribe in Northern Thailand turn simple turquoise-colored beads into a modern, up-to-date necklace. Resin beads are strung on waxed cotton thread and secured with an adjustable brass bead closure.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Let the party begin with a colorful collection of faux stone beads and brass bell accents as seen on our one-of-a-kind Multi-Colored Stone Necklace. Beaded by hand on crocheted waxed cotton by a fair trade group from the Akha Hill Tribe of Northern Thailand in support of its community.
 
 
 
 
Handcrafted by Thai fair trade artisans, this unique Leaf Jewelry Tree is made from 100 percent iron and is beautiful in any home décor. Delicate in design but substantial enough to hold all of your jewelry, even long necklaces and hook earrings. An attractive way to keeping your accessories organized and easy-to-find.
 
 
 

Our Buddha Hand is a beautiful work of art that also makes a perfect home for jewelry or scarves. Carved by HOPE artisans in Thailand and carved from sustainable, fast-growing acacia wood, our Buddha hand sculpture is an everyday reminder of peace. The hand gesture, called Mudra, is a sacred symbol of the connected nature of human consciousness and the unification of the individual with the world. Rest this on your dresser or countertop or hang on the wall with the included hook.
 
 
 
 
Big enough to carry even the thickest yoga mat, this brightly colored bag is hand-embroidered with traditional patterns by fair trade artisans living in rural areas in northern Thailand.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Our exclusive Healing Home Spa Set was developed from the therapeutic resources of Thailand. The soaps provide powerful antioxidants from mangosteen fruit and refreshing, calming lemongrass to suit your mood. The salt scrub contains citrus sabai and mangosteen to moisturize the skin while uplifting the mind and balancing the body. Finally, a soak in cooling plai bath salts refuels your body with powerful antioxidants and soothes tired skin and aching joints. Hand-carved tray of sustainably-grown bamboo comes with ceramic pots of the bath salts and salt scrub, both soaps and natural wood and bamboo scoops.
 
 
 
 
Bring the outdoors in with these strikingly beautiful Lotus Leaf Panels and behold a colorful celebration of the natural simplicity and gentle curves of the sacred lotus leaf. Using a special dying process, Thai artisans color authentic lotus leaves and affix them to black cotton canvas panels.
 
 
 
 
 
We asked experts, authors and readers like you to share their stories of Hope. Every day for the next month, you'll find new tips for optimism on Gaiam Life, the Stream of Consciousness blog and our social media sites: Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. And don’t miss the GaiamTV.com Hope Film Festival, with FREE films all month long.
 
Shop HOPE jewelry and accessories in the One World by GaiamTM Fair Trade Marketplace.

 

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