Fair Fashion? A conversation on fashion, race and climate justice

January 31, 2022
buds of cotton on yellow background

March 2nd 2022, 6:30pm – 7.30pm, online. Register for tickets.

SSAP logo

Fair Trade Wales in partnership with Sub Sahara Africa Panel (SSAP) put on an online flagship event for Fairtrade Fortnight.

Speakers: Ophelia Dos Santos, Climate Justice Activist and Welsh Textile Designer, Simmone Ahiaku, Climate justice campaigner, activist and educator and Subindu Gharkel, Fairtrade’s Senior Cotton and Textiles Lead. Facilitated by Aileen Burmeister, Fair Trade Wales.

Speaker biographies.

There were free tickets or you could have bought a donation ticket which helped go towards the cost of this event and support communities in Wales to promote Fair Trade.


The global fashion industry is worth $2.5 trillion and is making a sizeable contribution towards climate change. It accounts for 8-10% of global carbon emissions, and nearly 20% of wastewater. It also has a huge impact on the people that make our clothes, and has been reliant on the exploitation of garment workers since its conception.

Of the 74 million textile workers, including garment workers, worldwide, 80% are women of colour and some may only take home £20 a week. “The economic exploitation that fast fashion is reliant upon is a legacy of colonialism. From the 1500s until the middle of the 20th century, European imperialism was a way to create extractive states and oppress [racialised communities]”.

An estimated 350 million people work in the cotton sector, the majority in lower income countries in Central and West Asia and Africa. Fairtrade cotton was launched to put the spotlight on these farmers who are often left invisible, neglected and poor at the end of a long and complex cotton supply chain. Fairtrade has put tools in place to provide these farmers with an alternative route to trade and higher, more stable incomes.

About Fairtrade Fortnight

Fairtrade Fortnight runs from Feb 21 – Mar 6 and is a national event that takes place each year to celebrate the producers who make our food, drinks, clothing and more. It’s also a chance to raise awareness of the work they do and how we can support them.