A NEW YORK AFFAIR is more than a T-Shirt brand, it's a means of empowerment! We're striving to empower everyone in the supply chain from the cotton farmer and the sewers in India to the local artists in New York. We want to prove that fashion can be ethical as well as sustainable.
We are very proud that all of the cotton is Fairtrade certified and sourced from Fairtrade producers. Fairtrade means fairer trading conditions and opportunities for cotton producers in developing countries to invest in their businesses and communities for a sustainable future. Visit www.info.fairtrade.net.
Fairtrade is a global organization working to secure a better deal for farmers and workers. Fairtrade believes that trade can be a fundamental driver of poverty reduction and greater sustainable development, but only if it is managed for that purpose, with greater equity and transparency than is currently the norm. People can overcome disadvantage and marginalisation if they are empowered to take more control over their work and their lives and can gain access to mainstream markets under fair trading conditions. Fairtrade also believes that people, businesses and civil society institutions in the developed world are supportive of trading in this way. This is particularly the case when they understand the needs of producers and the opportunities that Fairtrade offers to change and improve their situation.By consuming a Fairtrade certified product you're helping to create better lives for their families and communities. And this is exactly the reason, why A NEW YORK AFFAIR carries the Fairtrade mark on every T-Shirt!
We source our super soft, 100% combed cotton T-Shirts from MILA Fair Clothing (FLOID 28481) in Thiruppur, India. We do so, because MILA cares not only for quality, but also for their employees. MILA's policies rock and here are some bullet points why:
Transparent Supply Chain
MILA has created and is working with a dedicated supply chain which is very
transparent. Every company in this chain is audited and certified by GOTS and FLO Fairtrade International. This allows MILA to track the flow of cotton from the farmer to the consumer and vice versa the flow of capital to the cotton farmers, who are organised as Pratibha-Vasudha Jaivik Krishi Kalyan Samiti (FLO ID 4531).
Cotton / Yarn
MILA sources cotton/yarn only from GOTS/FLO Fairtrade certified farms/mills (Prathibha Syntex Ltd, FLOID : 4392 and Shakthi Knitting Ltd, FLOID 28544). These standards makes sure via regular auditing that the farmers get the premium amount set by FLO Fairtrade International. Moreover, MILA visits farms regularly.
The T-Shirts are made ethically in a worker friendly environment. This translates to workers having access to all safety equipment, medical needs such as health insurance, retirement and pension funds and all personal rights provided by the Constitution of India. Above all of this, MILA provides workers a living wage, which is far above the minimum wage set by the Indian government.
Here's what the living wage needs to cover:
According to The Clean Clothes Campaign and the Asia Floor Wage Alliance a living wage is defined as follows:
“Wages and benefits paid for a standard working week shall meet at least legal or industry minimum standards and always be sufficient to meet basic needs of workers and their families and to provide some discretionary income.
A living wage...
applies to all workers, there is no salary below the living wage level.
must be earned in a standard work week of no more than 48h
is the basic net salary after taxes, before bonuses, allowances or overtime.
covers the basic needs of a family of four (2 adults, 2 children).
includes an additional 10% of the basic needs as discretionary income.
A living wage is better than minumum wage set by the local governments. More often than not, the minumum wage is only a fraction of what is needed for a family.
Every production step is 100% eco friendly. The dyeing process is done with a Zero Liquid Discharge system and 95% of the water is retrieved by an Effluent Treatment Plant installed in MILA's fabric dyeing unit and reused for dyeing again. 5% of the water evaporates and the remaining sludge is used to make bricks, in road construction and bought by cement factories.
MILA is socially committed and has welfare measures as stated by the law of India. Employees are given 1 day off every week in addition to 9 national holidays and 1 day paid casual leave for every 20 days worked. Workers are entitled to an annual bonus at the time of Dewali (Oct/Nov).
MILA also provides interest free loans to some of their homeless workers to buy land and build their own houses. Advance payment (short term loans) on salaries in case of an emergency such as illness of a family member e.g is another benefit MILA offers to their employees.
Pretty impressive, right?!
The focus of A NEW YORK Affair is on the empowerment of people and the creation of income possibilities. However, these concerns go hand in hand with sustainability issues. That's why, we're using 100% recycled padded mailers by EcoEnclose for our shipping. Order a T-Shirt and you'll see the beauty of it. Naturally, our hang tags are made of 100% recycled paper.
Plant based, natural dye
It was a piece of good fortune that we've found Alchemilla, a small dyeing workshop in Oberhofen at the beautiful Lake of Thun in Switzerland. Several people with special needs have found a meaningful work at Alchemilla dyeing various textiles with their own natural and plant based dyes. For our Spring '18 collection, we relied on their expertise! Find out more in this video:
So why are the T-Shirts not organic? Truth is, they actually are organic. The cotton, which is used for our T-Shirt is organic and so is the fabric until a finished T-Shirt leaves the cut and sew unit in India. Unfortunately, we don't have the organic certification by GOTS yet due to requirements concerning the screen printing step. This is definitely an area, which we are going to address as soon as possible.