Happy Fashion Revolution Week, friends! Running April 18th-24th, this is an annual campaign to bring together the world’s largest fashion activism movements for seven, concentration days of action.
The date is important: Fashion Revolution Week is always centred around the anniversary of the 2013 Rana Plaza collapse, in which a factory complex in Bangladesh (Rana Plaza) - with more than 5,000 people manufacturing clothing for some of the world’s biggest fashion brands - collapsed, killing over 1,000 of those souls and injuring another 2,500. The event was tragic and entirely preventable.
This tragedy shined a light on the massive issues within the global fashion industry, notably worker safety and human rights abuses, as well as its untold environmental degradation on our planet.
We know that reusable bags aren’t something you wear (well, unless you’re the Jax Tote in which case, it’s probably big enough to become a dress, shirt, or even…pants?). But, bags are still an accessory you take with you everywhere you go (we hope!). And, there are a lot of different kinds of bags on the market today that may seem sustainable, but are, in fact, being made without people or the planet in mind.
This Fashion Revolution Week, we’re talking about how The Market Bags is revolutionizing a common shopping accessory: the reusable produce bag. Our hope is that through this work, you feel compelled to join us and together, we can replace all those pesky tear-off-the-roll plastic bags in grocery stores with reusable bags!
1. We’re not into single-use
Pardon our language, but have you noticed how sh*tty single-use plastic produce bags are? Good for maybe a second use or as a critter pooper-scooper, they typically tear by just looking at them and good luck if you think you can cram 10 apples in one bag without the whole thing tumbling apart.
Plastic produce bags are not designed for reuse. Let’s think of them like fast fashion: made on the cheap out of non-renewable fossil fuels, meant to be worn for one season, then hucked into a landfill.
In a world where climate change is a real, actual threat, should we really be manufacturing more of them?
Reusable bags, on the other hand, offer us a way to minimize our reliance on fossil fuels. We can wash and reuse the same bag over and over again, replacing countless plastic bags. And, they definitely hold a bunch of apples. Reusable bags are to plastic produce bags what slow fashion is to fast fashion.
Of course, not all reusable bags are created equal and that’s why it’s important to consider third-party certified programs that ensure true sustainability and use upcycled materials.
2. We’re certifying our goods
Our bags are made from one of two fabric types: GOTS-certified organic cotton, or upcycled textile material. We chose GOTS certification (Global Organic Textile Standard) because of its transparency and third-party accreditation. This certification lets you know that the materials we use in our bags will not be full of harmful dyes, pesticides, or other toxic ingredients. It also sends a signal to you, that we are committed to sustainability.
You can read more about GOTS certification on their website.
3. We’re upcycling our fabrics
Our most popular bags are our upcycled reusable produce bags. We love making them because they are all unique, and the collections change with the seasons. But what we love most is that by using upcycled material, we’re keeping it out of the landfill (or, from being shipped to third-world countries for them to deal with). And of course, upcycled materials mean less greenhouse gas emissions, since it’s already been made! We have so much perfectly good fabric that already exists: why not use it for something like an awesome, reusable produce bag?
4. We’re creating ethical, transparent, and local production
We get soooooooooo many emails from factories in China and elsewhere, trying to convince us to move our manufacturing overseas and produce our bags on the cheap. Thanks, but nah thanks.
There is a reason why cheap goods are cheap: someone along the way is being exploited and it’s quite typically the person producing the good. We are so not into that. The Market Bags is based in Kelowna, British Columbia and therefore, all manufacturing, packaging, and production happens within the boundary of our beautiful, central Okanagan community!
We’ve been blessed to create a small network of independent seamstresses, interns, and other incredible humans who work tirelessly to create the bags you know and love. These individuals get paid a living wage and the flexibility to work from the comfort of their own homes. Keeping our production close to home means we can:
- Ensure high standards and consistent QA/QC
- Check in with our employees and make sure they are feeling supported and taken care of.
Two things we wouldn’t be able to control if we shipped our manufacturing overseas!
5. We’re engaging with our community
While big corporations will say they are community-oriented and run a big PR campaign around a single event, we simply wouldn’t exist without our community. Our community is our life and we’re all in.
From collaborations with other small businesses to giving back through our charitable donations, and everything in between, we are committed to doing our part to revolutionize the way business is conducted. At the end of the day, we just want a thriving community, and a beautiful and habitable planet for our kids to grow up in.