I wore these patterned shorts by fair trade brand One Mango Tree in an earlier post this summer, and today I'd like to tell you a little bit more about what a wonderful company they are. They tell the story best in their own words:
"One Mango Tree began in a tiny market stall in Gulu in 2007. During the conflict in Northern Uganda, many humanitarian organizations taught women to sew - in the hopes that this skill would provide a sustainable livelihood. The local market was quickly saturated, resulting in hundreds (maybe thousands) of women with basic sewing skills and no way to earn a living. Auma Lucy was one of those women - she rented a small stall in the market and sold traditional dresses. With the combination of beautiful and bright kitenge fabrics and some Western designs, we helped Lucy to develop an export market for her products, and One Mango Tree took root."
Since 2007, they have trained and employed 30 tailors, provided trainings on health and financial literacy, and the women themselves have organized into a Village Savings and Loan Association (a program pioneered by CARE), thereby counting on each other to help finance their dreams. But One Mango Tree goes even further than the concept of fair trade, making a continued, conscious effort to improve the quality of life of the women who produce their beautiful garments.
By 2011, most people in Northern Uganda had returned to their villages. Many women were renting homes in town to work for One Mango Tree, and only saw their families occasionally. They missed their children, and longed to be back home, digging their gardens and spending time with family and friends. In response, One Mango Tree implemented a work-from-home program, allowing each tailor to return home with her sewing machine. The women still come together once a week in the production manager's home to pick up cut pieces of fabric to make handbags, then they bring the finished pieces back the following week.
You can learn more about the One Mango Tree mission and story right here. I know I'm a fan for life, and I especially love the versatility of the beautiful shorts I'm wearing above and below (similar available here). You can dress them up with a collared shirt and heels, or go for a boho-chic vibe by mixing a floral print with their graphic pattern.
Last but not least, I've selected a few more of my favorites* from their online shop. One Mango Tree doesn't stop at apparel, offering beautiful ikat bags, exotic jewelry, and staple t-shirts that would work well in anyone's wardrobe.
*Just to be clear, while I occasionally accept gifted items for review when a brand's ethics are a good fit with my mission (example here), One Mango Tree did not provide me with these shorts, nor did they provide any other compensation for this post-- I just think they're rad, and I wanted to share! :)
Don't forget: you can shop all of my favorite, fair items