Some of the visitors to this site might be aware that I like my t shirts, each with their bold and awesome illustrations. I’m also quite an avid supporter of fairtrade, being involved with fairdos and purchasing fairtrade options such as tea and chocolate where possible. One of the big bugbears my friends and I have always had in the support of the fairtrade movement is that many of the designs put across upon fairtrade cotton products don’t appeal to us at all. Some of these friends are people who are right up there within prominent fairtrade companies, who although avid promoters, won’t wear fairtrade on a day to day basis if it means they have to sacrifice their style. It seems that the fairtrade companies don’t do design and so we’re not given a choice between two similar products. The end result is we’re faced with looking great and feeling a little discontent that the garment isn’t as fantastic as it could be, or feeling great about a product – but not looking so awesome. We’ve often spoken of beginning a fairtrade company that puts out clothing that is both ethically produced and well designed, but held off doing so because it felt a little beyond us. I can say here now that we’ve made the first step in bringing that vision a little closer.
Fair and Bare is a crowdsourcing project which pays out comission to designers who successfully produce t shirt design ideas for fairtrade t shirts. It’s also an attempt for the fairtrade community to lose that somewhat ‘serious face’ with which I think they are often associated and relax the shoulders a bit whilst having some fun. We’re currently offering £200 for designs and £50 for design ideas which we think are worth printing up onto fairtrade cotton. We then hope to offer shirts at a somewhat more accessible price than other fairtrade shirts. It’s a fun, small project at the moment, but I hope that we can help rejuvinate an otherwise awesome product and maybe inspire others to do the same.