Shop for Change and NIFT designing a better future for farmers

Shop for Change Fair Trade, a Section 25 not-for-profit company that promotes the concept of fair trade in India, collaborated with the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) Mumbai to give student designers an opportunity of a lifetime to make a difference for cotton farmers while making a splash in the fashion world. Encouraging new and upcoming talent to see the benefits of fair trade for farmers and the fashion industry, Shop for Change provided NIFT design students with Shop for Change Fair Trade certified cotton fabric to create a collection of Women’s Indian wear garments. The collection was showcased at a glamorous fashion show hosted at Valhalla, Churchgate.

An esteemed panel of judges, which included designer and Shop for Change partner Anita Dongre, ace photographer Vikram Bawa, and the talented designer Masaba Gupta, selected a winning design at this NextGEN event.  Ace designer Narendra Kumar Ahmed was also present to support Shop for Change and the young student designers.  Siddharth Kannan, the event’s emcee, had the audience in splits with his witty remarks throughout the afternoon.

Speaking on the occasion, Seth Petchers, CEO, Shop for Change Fair Trade said, “India’s youth has a vital role to play in unlocking the power of fair trade to make a difference in the lives of poor cotton farmers and the environment.  In just a few years, these NIFT students will be the trendsetters on runways and in fashion houses. For them to be committed to carrying the fair trade banner means that farmers can look forward to a better future.  Shop for Change is extremely happy to collaborate with NIFT to promote fair trade and spread awareness. We hope to make this an annual event and continue our fruitful association with NIFT.”

India’s growing consumer market presents a huge opportunity for the textile industry and consumers to adopt fair trade, ensuring farmers a better deal so they can care for their families and the environment.  These young designers, along with Shop for Change certified partner brands like Anita Dongre’s AND and Future Group affiliated Mother Earth, are showing that consumers can be at fashion’s forefront by simply by choosing garments with the Shop for Change Fair Trade Mark.

Commenting on this collaboration, Rebecca Philip, Center Coordinator for Fashion Design at NIFT Mumbai said, “NIFT has always believed in not just educating its students on fashion design and technology but imparting them with a holistic knowledge of their surroundings as well. We take our students on frequent industry visits to make them aware of the sources of their material. Our collaboration with Shop for Change is a step towards making them socially conscious designers who work towards the betterment of the society.”

The Shop for Change certified cotton in the fabric used by the NIFT students is sourced from Chetna Organic Agriculture Producer Company and converted into fabric by West End Fashions and Rajlakshmi Cotton Mills.  The models were provided with hair and make-up by India’s premier make up and design studio Fat Mu, which is committed to providing young makeup artists a stepping-stone into the world of fashion.  Support for the event came from European Union sponsored PROSUSTAIN project, a collaboration between Shop for Change, International Resources for Fairer Trade, Fair Trade Forum, and Hivos.