Global Exchange is a membership-based international human rights organization dedicated to promoting social, economic, and environmentsl justice around the world.

Ethical Soles

8th August, 2011 - Posted by Anna Kallett - 7 Comments

Shoes and sweatshops. Two words too often connected.

Finding ethical footwear is a challenge, but you’ll be happy to know that Global Exchange’s Fair Trade Store in San Francisco (map) is introducing a new line of beautiful and ethically designed espadrilles from a worker-owned factory in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

The worker-owned factory was part of the larger “recovered factories movement” that occurred in the wake of Argentina’s dramatic economic collapse of 2001. As factories were closing and unemployment was growing, hundreds of workers were locking themselves inside their former work places and operating as a democratically-run cooperative.

Learn more about the “recovered factories movement” at this week’s in-store film screening and discussion of The Take, a documentary film by Avi Lewis and Naomi Klein (see details below).

The summery espadrilles, called Pauline by Ethical Soles, are handmade of cotton canvas by some of these revolutionary factory workers. The ethical soles come in chile pepper red, Caribbean green, and gray, and can be yours for a fair price of $58 a pair (or two pairs for $98).

“These products represent a revolution in the apparel industry,” says Paula Surraco, a designer who has worked with the co-op for five years.“When you buy these shoes, you are empowering the workers to forge their own economic lives, building a factory and a business they own and providing them with dignified labor and fair salaries and conditions.”

Want to know more about the Reclaimed Factories Movement? Join us this Wednesday night at the Global Exchange Fair Trade Store in San Francisco for an in-store viewing of The Take. FREE! And free wine will be served!

Where: Global Exchange Fair Trade Store. 4018 24th St. San Francisco, CA. 94114. (415)648-8068

When: Wednesday, August 10th. Film begins at 6 pm.

7 Responses to “Ethical Soles”

  • This is great news! We’ve been looking for fair trade shoes, and the search has been difficult indeed. Any chance of getting these into a wider distribution than just the San Francisco store? When can we order a pair online?

  • Hey Caspar,
    Exciting indeed, glad you are equally stoked! The shoes are really nice looking, which the Fair Trade industry was really lacking. In terms of wider distribution, we are starting with our SF Store, but hopefully we will expand distribution to our other stores. No immediate plans to sell them online, but who knows in the future. If there are major updates like that, we’ll definitely post them here on our blog (and our Fair Trade list serve which you can sign up for here so stay tuned!
    Thanks for the comment!

  • N. Gilbert

    Yes, finally, we need more basic and simple canvas/cotton/hemp/twill/bamboo shoes like this! I know the equitable exchange/fair trade anti-Chucks are available at Global Exchange stores, but it’s great to finally see more selection with form-following-function minimalist shoes! These are a marvelous solution to sweatshopped (and non-transparently manufactured) Toms alpargatas!

  • N. Gilbert

    Also, please, please bring these to the Berkeley store and online! :)

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