Bangkok International Fashion Fair – A Celebration of Style and Design!

Bangkok, a much-favored tourist destination for decades among regular visitors to the country, is legendary for its cuisine, cultural attractions and energetic nightlife. It is not unheard-of for a foreigner to be spoilt for choice when selecting a list of places to see while in the country, as the sheer number of attractions is staggering to say the least. From fascinating museums packed with amazing exhibits to nature related attractions featuring some of the most interesting creatures in the wild – al of which can be found in Bangkok with the greatest of ease. The lovers of art too have the chance to indulge their senses while in Bangkok, as a number of fine art galleries are found all over the city. The well-traveled visitor in search of fine dining options is also in luck, as this vibrant city has a stunning array of superb culinary establishments of great repute.

Fashion is another hot topic which is making its mark in the local economy. As several local designers and models have won the hearts of the international audiences of fashion and design in recent years, the fashion industry in Bangkok has taken off and is showing signs of improvement already. Shopping in Bangkok, as most already know, is one of the main reasons why tourists are drawn to the city. The Bangkok International Fashion Fair, or BIFF, is an annual fashion extravaganza that takes place in Thailand attracting the attention of many global figures in the fashion world.

This flashy, star-studded event is one of the main features of the Bangkok events calendar, as many leading international personalities in the industry showcase their talents in this colorful exhibition. Constantly bringing something new to the table hardly seems deceptively effortless for both rookie and expert designers who take part in this festival. The catwalks at the BIFF will be graced by world class models clothed with spectacular designs befitting the tastes of modern glitterati. Visitors will even have the chance to purchase clothing items, fabrics and even accessories while at the event as a number of operational boutiques can be found.

Organic and Fair Trade Fashion – What’s the Big Deal?

The conventional clothing industry is huge at over one trillion in sales annually. To keep this engine running smoothly, the clothing industry has developed the concept of fast fashion. The clothing industry works hard through advertising to ingrain in our minds, the idea that we must upgrade our wardrobe regularly with the latest style and/or seasonal changes. We must do these things or be viewed as behind the times, old fashioned, out of sync, unattractive, etc.

And the clothing companies have made it real easy for us to throw out the “old” and bring in the newest clothing trend by offering up cheap fashion. Heck, when that flashy shirt is only $5 bucks and that complimentary pair of pants is only $10 bucks, why not, right?

But what we don’t realize is that the true cost of these cheap fashions have simply been externalized. What do I mean by that? In order to produce cheap clothing to keep this whole consumerism tread mill going, the clothing industry must find inexpensive manufacturing options.

They do this by outsourcing their production to countries where labor is cheap, labor laws are lacking or non-existent and environmental regulations are minimal. So, let’s say Big Clothing Corporation A goes to a third world country to find a clothing manufacturer. They shop around to find the best price and decide on local manufacturer B. They generally don’t ask questions as they don’t want to know exactly how the manufacturer can possibly produce the clothing order for such a cheap price. Knowing equals guilt right?

Third world manufacturer B can make the clothing so cheaply because they use child labor, pay workers wages that are barely at subsistence level, offer no health care, child care, insurance benefits and have no costs associated with proper disposal of hazardous chemicals such as dyes, formaldehyde, fire retardants, etc or textile waste because they just dump it all untreated into the nearest river or stream.

This is what I mean by externalizing the cost. Big Corporation A now gets their nice new, shiny shirt for $2 which they then turn around and sell to you for $5. But as you hold up the shirt that little voice in your mind asks – how the heck can they sell this for just $5 bucks? They can because the local lakes, rivers and streams and the local work force where that shirt was made took the brunt of the cost. In other words, the cost was externalized.

Do you want to be a part of this tragedy? Because you have read this far, I don’t think you do. So what can we do to effect change? Thankfully, we can do a lot. The fact is that over 70% of our economy is driven by you, by me, your next door neighbor. That’s right, consumerism drives almost three quarters of our economic activity. It is the bread and butter of big corporations.

If you say NO to fast fashion and yes to organic, fair trade clothing, you are making a difference. As more people stand up and say the same thing, your combined voices will force big corporations to change. They will simply have to change or become obsolete. You hold all the cards.

So, what’s your choice? Do you choose organic clothing which is made without the use of harsh chemicals such as pesticides that pollute our environment making our drinking water unsafe, destroying habitat and killing innocent farmers by the thousands? Will you say yes to fair trade clothing which protects workers rights, allowing them to rise out of poverty and become productive and proud members of our global society?

Or do you choose to stay on the consumerism treadmill and keep buying cheap, fast fashion while ignoring the consequences of that decision?

Fashionably Fair Traded Jewelry

Consumers and society in on the whole has begun to consider more closely their purchases and their impacts. The economy has influenced the market, but so has social awareness. Now more than ever, consumers are interested in where their purchases are coming from and who they affect. Often times our purchases have larger implications and repercussions than we may even realize at the time. With environmental degradation at an all time high, people are much more willing than ever before to throw down a few more dollars on products that have social and environmental benefits. Handmade and recycled goods are getting much more attention than they used to. They are no longer seen as cheap, but as inexpensive and beneficial to the environment and to peoples’ lives.

Jewelry permeates almost all societies. In most places jewelry is an expression of art and culture. They are not paid fairly and often have to work unheard of hours in a factory that offers them little benefit and a low wage. For this reason, jewelry consumers are turning to Fair Trade Jewelry. Fair Trade Jewelry is often made sustainably and more importantly, Fair Trade jewelry is true to its name. The trade between the buyer and seller is fair. The producers get what they deserve for their labor and the goods.

Socially conscious jewelry doesn’t have to look any less glamorous than any other types of jewelry. Many people are under the impression that Fair trade and recycled jewelry often uses durable metals like sterling silver. Fair trade offers many styles including Sterling silver jewelry. To be more environmentally conscious, some brands will create new jewelry by melting down metal from necklaces, rings, and bracelets that have an outdated style. The metal is melted down and then redesigned for today’s hottest trends! Exploitation of workers and especially factory workers is still occurring today, but by endorsing and purchasing products that are homemade, locally bought, fair traded, or recycled we can lessen that negative impact.