One thing we love to do here at Fair Trade USA is help tell the stories of other mission-driven groups using Fair Trade to make a difference in the world. One such organization is MotherTongues , a new apparel company that prints life-affirming words on Fair Trade Certified t-shirts. Through combining the Fair Trade standards of environmental and social responsibility, along with a sincere belief in the power of language, MotherTongues is working to remind us all of our shared humanity. Maybe one of their tees will speak to you.
Please take a moment to enjoy this Q&A with Michelle Hamman, Founder of MotherTongues, to learn more about the project.
What is MotherTongues?
MotherTongues is an apparel company that celebrates cultures by exploring life-affirming words and wisdom. The company's core values are: Fair Trade, cultural sensitivity, the celebration of peoples, ecological sustainability, and economic justice. Each sale aims to educate, empower, and support a local or national organization.
What makes your products special?
Each t-shirt or product aims to connect people with cultural values that are different from their own. The words and concepts on our shirts often stretch our familiar world by teaching us how other cultures create life and community for themselves.
Why is Fair Trade an important part of your business?
The core values of MotherTongues are to embrace people from every walk of life and protect the earth we walk on. Honoring these values requires the use of organic cotton, ecologically mindful screen printing, and Fair Trade practices.
In addition to supporting Fair Trade cotton farmers and factory workers, what other causes do your products support?
MotherTongue s donates $1 per t-shirt to the Center for Women in Transition (www.aplaceforwomen.org ) in our hometown. This organization helps women and children who are going t rough major life challenges. For the Sisu t-shirt, we donate $1 per t-shirt to the American Cancer Society (http://www.cancer.org ). MotherTongues belongs to 1% for the Planet (http://onepercentfortheplanet.org/en/ ), a growing global movement of over 1,400 member companies that donate 1% of their sales to environmental organizations worldwide. MotherTongues is a member of Green America (http://www.greenamerica.org ), and purchases energy credits to off set our electricity use and shipping carbon footprint through Native Energy (http://www.nativeenergy.com ).
Is there a word you’ve come across that best represents Fair Trade?
Shalom and salaam: where peace and justice kiss (http://www.mothertongues.com/catalog.php/mothertongues/ct9588 )
Which items are Fair Trade Certified?
All Ubuntu, Aserian, Minga, and Gezellig t-shirts, as well as all aprons and scarves are Fair Trade Certified. MotherTongues is committed to offering only Fair Trade Certified items.