fair trade clothing

Who Made My... Mata

Mata Traders’ items are recognizable by their bright prints and colours found on some of our dresses, skirts and shirts, and they are also the source of much of our jewelry.  Behind every lovely printed garment or glimmering piece of jewelry is the story of a women who was given the chance to empower herself and aid in the sustainability of her community. By purchasing something from Mata, you are connecting yourself to the positive change in many women’s lives who were involved in the process of creating that item, whether it’s a necklace to match your dress for a wedding or a skirt to wear whe n you travel for the summer.

"Our mission is to work with organizations that educate, employ, and empower women. Spending time with these groups has helped us realize that even the most traditional women, when given the opportunity, thrive in a sphere of meaningful work that is outside their homes and families. We have also learned that equality in the workplace is possible in a country as socially stratified as India."- Maureen Dunn, Founder of Mata Traders

Mata cares about delivering a final product that is not only stylish and modern but also brings in traditional methods, like block stamping and embroidery, into the production. By using these methods, Mata can encourage local artisans in India to continue their traditions while introducing them to the modern day market of retail fashion.

The vision for Mata Traders was created by Maureen Dunn after she traveled around India with 2 friends; Michelle and Joni, on a round the world trip. She began importing various products from suppliers in India to build a business based around the beauties of Indian fashion and art.This eventually led to Mata Traders only working with suppliers that practice the principles of fair trade such as; paying their workers fairly and having safe working conditions.

With the aid of the women’s co-operatives that Mata works with, they are able to give many working women the income they need to send their children to schools, and in a particular 17 year old named Harshali’s case, her siblings. Harshali started working at a co-operative partnered with Mata at the age of 17 in order to earn enough money to send her 3 younger siblings to school as well attend post-secondary herself. Both of her parents died earlier in her life, leaving Harshali’s grandmother to raise the 4 siblings. By moving to the city, her grandmother hoped to find work to take care of them all.

After Harshali finishes work at the co-operative every day, she returns home to aid her grandmother and sister in selling fish on the side of the road until around 9 pm. Through her hard work and dedication, Harshali was able to send her 3 siblings to school as well as begin a college economics course.

Mata Traders and the women’s co-operatives were able to make this happen by giving the support and work that many women, like Harshali, need to raise and take care of their families. However, none of it would be possible without the help of the customers who decide to shop fair trade.

Beth, owner of Grey Rock Clothing Co., visiting with two of Mata Trader's founders at their head office in Chicago. 

Beth, owner of Grey Rock Clothing Co., visiting with two of Mata Trader's founders at their head office in Chicago. 

Photos of their employees and processes have been provided by Mata Traders. If you would like more information on Mata, leave us a comment and we’d be happy to answer your questions or find out the answer for you!

Who Made My...PACT

We find ourselves telling the story’s of our Maker’s often within our brick and mortar location, to customers, to one another, to just about anyone that will listen. It’s exciting for us, we’ve worked to find suppliers whose stories we are proud of in this way.  It's creativity and craftsmanship we can’t help but point out because we want you to experience what we feel seasonally as they have developed as companies, and again every time we receive a brown box full of clothes in the mail. We don’t want to lose that part of ourselves online, when you’re not walking through our shop door, so we’re starting a series of blog posts entitled Who Made My.  These posts will speak in greater detail about the efforts of the company’s that we work with and why they together, inspire us to do.

"Robots don't make your clothing, people do.The most powerful opportunity for social impact is to support the workers who make our product."- Jeff Denby, Co-Founder of PACT

PACT is one of the most recognizable brands in our store, and this is probably mostly due to the fact that it's the product we have the most anecdotes to tell about. These anecdotes all involve pairs of men's boxer briefs and the reactions that come from putting a pair on, which admittedly sounds pretty out there. However, If you'd like your own fun underwear story we highly recommend buying a pair for yourself, your signficant other, or a close personal friend. You can shop our selection here.     

PACT is far more then just socks, skivvies and shorts that make a great conversation piece, both humorously and comfort-wise. The company was created by Jeff Denby who spent years working in international manufacturing with questionable working conditions and environmental policies. Their eco-concept supply chain is sustainable by design. Farmer-run cooperatives plant non-GMO cotton seeds and harvest by hand, without pesticides or fertilizers. Socks are knit using wind powered factories, while composted rice husks fuel apparel production. Fair Trade and GOTS certification insures that the employees of these factories are paid a fair wage, work under safe conditions, and that their work benefits their communities' stability. Their packaging is made from recycled paper products originating in forests that are managed with future growth in mind, and printed on with vegetable inks so that their packaging might be currently recycled again, by you. 

Our baby line from PACT is currently only available in our physical store location. Please  send us a note  if you are interested in any of the pieces seen here or others that we may have! We can mail them to you.

Our baby line from PACT is currently only available in our physical store location. Please send us a note if you are interested in any of the pieces seen here or others that we may have! We can mail them to you.

PACT's involvement with the third-party organizations that insure they are holding themselves to their social and environmental philosophies, is continuous. There are select few other company's that have earned as many best of global standards in industry certifications, as they have been awarded. They are B Corp Certified - B corp is an organization that evaluates a company based on their supply chain transparency, operational accountability and how the effective impact of their best practices. SA 8000 Certification holds them to additional fair labor verification and OEKO-TEX 100 tests their raw materials and end products for harmful chemicals and toxicity.

This infographic image is supplied to us, by PACT. 

This infographic image is supplied to us, by PACT. 

If you would like more information on PACT, leave us a comment below and we'd be happy to answer your questions or find out the answer for you! A selection of our PACT products can be found under  Women's Intimates, Women's BasicsMen's Sock and Underwear, and Men's Basics on our website. 

New at Grey Rock: 1 fab co-op student & 1 sleek online store.

Hey there, my name is Alison Kennedy. I'm the new co-op student at Grey Rock Clothing Co. I started working with Beth and Kaitlyn in late September and it's been a journey of merchandising, taking photographs, helping customers and working on our new recently launched online store.

It's been a pretty fun ride, Beth has taught me a lot about owning a store and the impact the clothing has in the countries they originate. She is also a huge help when it comes to my International Business class. Let me tell you if you want to hear that lady get really passionate bring up the topic of China as one of the fastest growing economies in the world. I got a whole report out of a 15 minute conversation with her.

Two weeks into my co-op I helped Beth turn over inventory in the store. It's amazing to see that by adding only a few new pieces how different a store can look once you've moved a few things around and changed the displays. It was a great experience to collaborate with her and hear her opinions on my ideas for the displays.

Another thing I've been doing at Grey Rock is taking photographs for the new sleeker online store that we re-launched Oct. 16th.  Through trial and error I’ve realized that even though I can get a decent shot of the clothing, I should never pursue a career in photography. We’re really proud of the new website and online store. It has a great look and feel, and is really easy to use. You can check out the women's store here shop women's  and the men's store here shop men's.

While you're scrolling through and falling in love with all the clothing, also imagine walking through a field of clouds, kittens and cotton (organic cotton that is) and you might just get a small understanding of how incredibly soft and comfortable all the clothes are. Whoever said diamonds were a girl’s best friend has never met internet shopping.