Fashion is really important to a chic trendsetter like Emma Watson. But it's not just designing cute clothes that she values -- it's helping the women who make those pieces survive poverty.
Emma recently visited Bangladesh and spent time in the slums of Dhaka, the country's capital, and Swallows, a community supported by People Tree, the UK brand that the 20-year-old actress collaborated with for her fashion line.
"It's just so impressive to see how the women have used fair trade clothing to escape poverty and empower themselves and their children. I was very moved and inspired," she says. Fair trade allows the women to be paid more and People Tree even provides them with a day care center and school.
"It's fantastic what [People Tree] has been able to do [through fair trade]," Emma states. "Not only do these women have jobs, but they're earning the same amount as men -- there is gender equality...Then there is the day care center, and also a domestic violence program for the women who are being abused...you're essentially giving these people the opportunity to help themselves out of poverty and that's all they really want."
Describing the difference between living conditions for women not working in a fair trade environment, the Brown University student explains, "In the building we visited, I saw one shower, one cleaning place, and one hole in the floor which was the toilet. This was for the whole floor. That floor had maybe eight or nine rooms coming off it, and each room housed a whole family. That is 32 people to one toilet."
Emma also notes that women living in these slums work around the clock and only earn about ten dollars a week. "These workers have no rights and work every hour of the day just to feed their families. Fair trade gives families the option to stay together, rather than one or both parents having to move to cities, and they are paid a fair wage. It empowers people and doesn't take away their dignity."
Watch a video of Emma's trip to Bangladesh and tell us what you think about fair trade clothing lines like People Tree.
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