World Social Forum: Talks on Fair Trade




On August 10-14th, Chic Made Consciously road tripped to Montreal and attended the World Social Forum as an exhibitor! This 5-day global gathering was held in Montreal, its first time in North America. When we discovered the forum we knew we had to take part. The forum began in 2001 in Brazil, with the vision to create a more inclusive and sustainable world. It is the largest gathering of civil society where people from all over the world collaborate to find solutions to the problems of our time.

Cassandra and Ida at the Chic Made Consciously booth. WSF August 11th, 2016.


We were ecstatic to be part of such a movement: speakers, workshops and seminars on various social issues and thousands of people coming together to make our world a more inclusive one. It was such an honour to be involved, making change at such a profound event made our time there very rewarding!
Chic Made Consciously’s commitment to fair trade was of particular interest to shoppers. We received lots of inquisitive questions, such as:
  • Are you fair trade certified?
  • What makes your products fair trade?
  • Do your workers make a percentage of your profits once the item is sold?
At the moment we are not fair trade certified, however we are working towards receiving certification. We believe we represent fair trade because our workers are paid fair wages, they work in safe working conditions (which we have seen!) and have a voice in how the workplace is run.

Our workers are paid up front before we even receive the goods, at the prices that THEY ask. It’s important to us that we ensure they are receiving what they deserve. We think that’s pretty fair.


Our learning grew in the area of Fair Trade, where we were able to attend a couple talks on fair trade for our future and for the people. We learnt about differences in fair trade policies around the world, as well as some opportunities and challenges facing the industry.

“Build the change, drive the demand!”

One of my favourite take a ways from Sean McHugh, Executive Director of Canadian Fair Trade Network. If we are each aware of what we consume and that our purchases have power, we can create demand in order to make change!

We networked with Nadine McKinnon, a passionate fair trade activist, fighting for $15 minimum wage in Canada. A true creative, she protests by singing her inspirational words. Check her out on Soundcloud!
Nadine, Ida and Cassandra with their Chic Made Consciously flower pieces
Ultimately, it's about us working collaboratively. Without this, it is difficult to drive change in government. We need to engage government and ensure consumers are educated on what the meaning of fair trade is! It is also up to us to stay informed as consumers and demand answers to questions that are not being answered by bigger brands. Do your due diligence and be a mindful consumer!

What are your thoughts on Fair Trade?

Let us know in the comments below!