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Winning outfit made from old net curtains.

Last year’s winning outfit at the Bexhill Fairtrade Fashion Show, made from recycled net curtains (photo: Fraser Ward).

Fashion show a highlight as Bexhill comes together to support Fairtrade Fortnight

We’re in the middle of Fairtrade Fortnight, with the highlight of the Fairtrade Fashion Show coming up in Bexhill on Thursday. It’s a chance to demonstrate solidarity with disadvantaged producers and farmers in the developing world. Nick Terdre reports.

The Fairtrade Fashion Show sees Bexhill Fairtrade Group and Bexhill College join forces for an eighth consecutive year. The show will again be held in the Izzard Theatre on the college site.

A fascinating evening is in store, as arts and textiles students model their own creations made from ethical and recycled materials, with fairly traded cotton and silk to the fore. Students from the sixth form college will be joined by colleagues from Bexhill High Academy, St Richards Catholic College and Pestalozzi International Village.

Members of a producer group specialising in hand-crocheting in Andhra Pradesh, India.

Members of a producer group specialising in hand-crocheting in Andhra Pradesh, India.

As usual, Fairtrade retailers will be present to talk of their trading experiences with producer groups in developing countries. Barbara Wilson of LoveThatStuff will give a presentation entitled ‘Around The World In Eight Countries’, illustrated with garments and accessories from her trading partners. Among the groups whose products she will show are hand-crocheted items from a producer group which supports widows in Andhra Pradesh, India – and cotton clothing made on handlooms by the Mahaguthi producer group in Kathmandu, Nepal.

These groups belong to the World Fair Trade Organisation (WFTO), not to be confused with the World Trade Organisation (WTO). WFTO promotes trade on fair principles with producers and farmers in the developing world who find themselves disadvantaged in the world of Big Commerce.

A handloom as used by the Muhugathi group in Nepal.

A handloom as used by the Mahaguthi group in Nepal.

Other brands participating in the show are Bazaar, Nomads Clothing, Native by Nature and Traidcraft, all of which put the emphasis on people’s livelihoods and sustainability, says Jack Doherty, chairman of the Bexhill Fairtrade Group.

Also present will be Kool Skools, which supplies school uniforms made from fairly traded cotton. It’s an irony that so many children of cotton farmers are deprived of schooling because they are obliged to work in the fields, Jack says.

Fairnight Fortnight began on 29 February and runs to 13 March. As usual, many cafes, shops, schools and churches in Bexhill, a Fairtrade town, are taking part, serving Fairtrade products such as tea, coffee, sugar and bananas.

Altogether 15 cafes are signed up, including Pebbles Tea Rooms, Di Paolo’s, Wards, Lemon Tree, No 48 , Little Phattisserie, Oasis, Coffee In Style, Hughie’s, Two Trees, Espresso Max, Pelham, De La Warr Pavilion, Denbigh and You-Nique, Jack reports. On Tuesday 8 March, No 48 is holding a quiz at 7.30pm with a round of Fairtrade questions.

Various businesses and care homes, including Ambleside and Homesdale, have also taken the Fairtrade message on board, providing fairly traded foodstuffs for staff and residents.

Local MP, Huw Merriman, turned out to lend his support to the initiative – and interestingly, last week also saw the formation of an All Party Parliamentary Group in Westminster to support the Fairtrade movement.


Fairtrade Fashion Show Thursday 10 March, Izzard Theatre, Bexhill College, Penland Road, Bexhill TN40 2JG. Tickets: Adults £6, Concessions £3 – entitle you to canapés and a free glass of Fairtrade wine, soft drink, tea or coffee. Doors open at 6.30pm for a 7pm start. Tickets can be purchased online or on the door.

Posted 12:12 Tuesday, Mar 8, 2016 In: Campaigns

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