Tuesday 25 December 2007

Christmas Day wishes....

Being a bit of a geek (only a bit, I hope), I logged on today, Christmas Day, to see if friends might just be pushing emails in my direction.

But no, thankfully, almost nothing in the inbox. My physical letter box has been fully functional and everyone who I expected to drop me a note already has.

I say almost nothing in the Inbox, but in fact, gosh, there a more than the odd High Street store dropping me an email with Christmas Greetings and an invitation to...

....go sale shopping.


Now the commercialisation of Christmas has pushed Boxing Day into a working day for many but today surely is a day too far.

Anyway, Pier 32 are pleased to announce that no T-shirts are being printed today. Or tomorrow. And if someone really needs them, yes we'll be printing on Thursday but given half a chance we are all going to have a well earned rest all week

And we hope you are too.

As for me, I'm a bit of a geek. Just checking my emails, honest ;-)

And hoping you are all have a great day. Away from the computer!

Wednesday 19 December 2007

Undermining fair trade in Cotton

When people think of fair trade the first thought is that the producer is paid a fair price for what is being produced. In a world economy where everyone is competing on price then what exactly is a fair price? That's where basic ethical considerations come into play. A government of a country that is a major producer of cotton on a global scale that in an organised way enslaves children to produce cotton cheaply undermines the whole market place, forcing many ethical farmers to live in poverty or simply put them out of business.

The country - Uzbekistan. The investigative journalism putting together the video evidence was carried out of the BBC's Newsnight programme. The video is in 3 parts, first part here, the remainder can be accessed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h6BnqPQGITU

Many will argue that in the end the real responsibility rests with the Western consumer. We believe the vast majority of people care enough to pay a fair price but are unaware of what is going on. Our supplier Continental is running a major campaign to raise awareness on this issue. See their site: Boycott Uzbeck Cotton

Thursday 6 December 2007

Bamboo - not just for pandas

For a long time known as the only food favoured by pandas, and more recently as a garden favourite, Bamboo is just emerging as a fabric that is truly in fashion, with softness to rival silk. Aware of its desirability and environmentally friendly status, we have started supplying Bamboo t-shirts here at Pier 32.

Written from the point of view of the fashion industry and examining the fabrics eco-credentials, this in depth article from the organic-clothing blog gives a detailed account of many aspects of this new sustainable and eco-friendly fibre.

Wednesday 5 December 2007

Helping farmers convert to Organic

One of Pier 32's main suppliers is Continental, a promotional clothing company based in the UK, with which we have recently set up ties.

We are very pleased with our choice because they have recently announced that their entire range is to be either made from organic cotton or "organic cotton in conversion".

So what's this 'in conversion' tag? It's important because it identifies a product that is not quite the same as pure Organic Cotton. It identifies fabric from farmers who are especially in need of support - those who choose to convert their crops from chemical production methods to those that are organic. These farmers have chosen to forsake the use of chemicals and unfortunately find themselves in limbo, unable to use the Organic label until their soil is free of all traces of chemical residues. However their cotton is not sprayed with pesticides, they no longer use chemical fertilizer and they use natural methods of pest control.

By buying products made from "organic cotton in conversion" you support these farmers at a time when their businesses are most vulnerable. If they cannot make the conversion because of financial constraints then the land is in danger of being sold and/or going back to the use of chemicals. Continental explain more in this article on Organic Cotton.


Over the last year or so a tide of change has been sweeping through the clothing industry as consumers, as in other sectors, begin to look beyond (and behind) brands, high street fashion, and price to see what impact their purchase might have on this planet and other people.

At Pier32 we are thrilled at this new conciousness, and we want to do our bit to raise it even more and broaden the knowledge base of those already in the know. But its not just the general public we want to communicate with, we want to keep our customers informed of the direction things are moving and and what we are doing to provide them an ethical choice. And we want to hear what they want if we are not already providing it.

To help keep things organised, we will be labeling posts with the big issues - ethics in clothing, organics, child labour etc - or just Pier 32 when we are dealing with news that is more about our business and its customers.

I am Gerry Hayter and Pier32 is my business, but I am not the only one contributing to its success so on this blog you will hear from others too. And you can contribute by responding to our posts, to make this blog better, and the business better too.

I hope you check back often to see what's going on