Sunday, May 11, 2014

Coffeehouse Culture

red, black, and off-white graphic print Mata Traders smock dress

May 10th was designated as World Fair Trade Day, and therefore a perfect time to wear the Mata Traders dress that I was so excited about. Spoiler alert: I'm still a fan!

The idea of "fair trade" is an equal exchange of value between the people who make a product, the people who sell it, and the people who buy it. Mata Traders is dedicated to cultivating that chain of mutually respectful relationships. The company treats laborers as partners rather than exploitable subordinates: "[O]ur producers are paid a livable wage in safe and fair conditions, and do their work at home and in small workshops rather than factories. Services like on-site day-care, medical check-ups, and over-time pay are offered."

My dress is definitely not a mass-market item. Handstitched details and charming flubs in the woven cotton fabric emphasize that this is a crafted piece more than a manufactured one. The billowy silhouette doesn't stress one's figure (to coin a euphemism). Interlocking windowpanes in off-white and black, accented by blocks of brick red, bring to mind Celt-esque "tribal" motifs and Keith Haring.

Tonight I'm going to wear this dress to Freight & Salvage, a Berkeley venue that dates back to the '60s. I think it would be equally suited to browsing at City Lights. I'm no beatnik but I do like Joni Mitchell... Wait, am I mixing decades?

red, black, and off-white graphic print Mata Traders smock dress red, black, and off-white graphic print Mata Traders smock dress

Perhaps you can tell that this is a random spot in my backyard.

red, black, and off-white graphic print Mata Traders smock dress

The dress has POCKETS! I never run out of enthusiasm for pockets.

26 comments :

  1. As suspected, the dress suits you perfectly. I do see Joni more as immediate beat aftermath though, post-failed-counterculture! The Freight looks really awesome and like exactly my kind of place. Have fun!

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    1. Thank you! I think you would definitely like the Freight =D

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  2. Yes, you are mixing decades, but who cares? You look radiant in that dress (with pockets!). Have a wonderful time!

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    1. Pockets pocket pockets! I am beyond the bounds of time ;)

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  3. There's that dress! It looks awesome on you!

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  4. I love that dress. I shy away from billowy dresses but I'm pretty sure this would look good on anyone! - Leah

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  5. Love the dress on you! But that is not a random spot in your back yard. It is a rabbit seat and overlook.

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  6. Fair trade sounds like a fair idea to me. It boggles my mind that it isn't the default way of production. Also, I love knowing that you got an item made like no other!

    Brittney

    Another Beautiful Thing

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  7. So cute and sassy! Just like a rogue. Well done! :-D I could never pull off this dress, but you look fab in it.

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    1. Thank you, Syl! Although I bet you could pull off the dress =P

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  8. One can never have too many pockets! The dress looks great on you!

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  9. I totally love that dress! The contrast between the red and the pattern is really nice, but the fair trade aspect makes it even better.

    Sincerely,
    Sabrina

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    1. I agree, it's a great dress! Thank you :)

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  10. This dress is glorious on you! And even better that it's fair trade. The family and I have been trying to buy foods more locally and from places that support fair trade, though we have yet to do that with our clothing. Slowly by slolwy!

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    1. It's all about progress :) Thank you!

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  11. LOVE this dress!!! Such a unique pattern!

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  12. I really like the pattern on that dress. I've noticed that a lot of fair trade clothes have the most interesting patterns and constructions - far more creative than a lot of things I see in a store at a mall.
    Pockets in a dress is an instant win!

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    1. Good point. Maybe it's because they tend to work with limited materials? I've always believed that constraints force creativity!

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