Indigenous organic cotton ponchosWhen we receive new merchandise at the Global Exchange Fair Trade Stores in San Francisco and Berkeley, like our spring line of Indigenous Designs apparel, it goes something like this: boxes open, we dig our hands into the stacks of tissue-soft organic cotton, and say, “Who wants to try it on? Which color do you like best? Won’t it go well with my scarf? It’s all so soft”!

Then, after we’ve gone through the enjoyable process of touching and preparing everything for the floor, we whisper to the skirt we love, “You will be mine,” and bop it on the nose. It’s kind of like these ponchos, skirts, and flowing cotton tanks are living things. The fiber is so pure it carries the warm breeze of Peru on its hem. When we hold a piece of organic Fair Trade clothing up to the light to examine it, it begins to dance.

Indigenous organic cotton skirts and organic cotton tank tops

That must be what Indigenous Designs had in mind when it revolutionized sustainable fashion design. The clean lines and intricate knits in fresh color pallets clearly reflect our customers’ style, ethical, and ecological sensibilities. This is fashion we can feel good about, as well as the kind of eco-friendly fashion featured in international fashion magazines!

Indigenous Designs uses the finest Fair Trade alpaca, silk, merino wool, and organic cotton that is locally sourced by indigenous communities in South America, and works directly with artisans whose traditional handmade goods are not only exported to Fair Trade shops like Global Exchange, but sold at their local marketplaces. Indigenous Designs prides itself on having one of the most “stable, equitable and profitable foreign trade models in existence,” as well as “providing innumerable environmental and health benefits” by avoiding harmful chemicals and waste.

Indigenous organic cotton skirts and organic cotton knits from Peru

We think sharing our new Indigenous Designs clothes and accessories with friends and co-workers is just a bonus for us and the environment. The spring ponchos are so beautiful, we’ll want to pass them down to our grandchildren like the heirloom pieces they are. We’ll smile at them with our old eyes, thinking how we were once so proud to wear them too.


But between bestowing our Fair Trade clothes to a future generation and talking to them in the stores (“you are going to look fantastic on, yes you are”), let’s wear them! Let’s tread on the earth as lightly as this cotton sweeps our shoulders, and support equality for humankind with the strength of these knits. Let’s look and feel amazing in Indigenous Designs.