Fair Trade Brand of the Month: HFS Collective

HFS Collective was founded in 2012 by a mother-daughter team of Debra and Rachel Denniston.  This Los Angeles based brand focused on being an ethical and sustainable company from the beginning, creating beautiful hands-free bags to liberate women from their baggage.  They also aimed to support the Fair Trade movement in their production process.

 Rachel and Debra Denniston, Founders of HFS Collective

Rachel and Debra Denniston, Founders of HFS Collective

In an interview with us Rachel explained that all of their products are produced locally in Los Angeles.  “Since we don't produce our bags overseas and instead, make everything right here in Los Angeles, fair trade for us means taking care of the people that make our bags by providing fair living wages in safe, clean and comfortable working conditions. Fair trade doesn't only have to exist overseas, it can also begin right here at home.” 

Rachel first heard of the term “Fair Trade” in reference to coffee and chocolate.  “Of course those are my favorite indulgences.  So, I was intrigued to find out and read more about fair trade and what it was all about.”  She learned that Fair Trade in general means fair payment for goods produced in developing countries.  Believing that the same should be extended to goods made in America, HFS then applied this value to their brand mission. 

 The Skull Fanny Pack by HFS Collective

The Skull Fanny Pack by HFS Collective

“Fair Trade is important because it empowers artisans around the world.  It allows them to make a living from their craft in an increasingly modern society, which favors mass production over individual craft.” said Rachel. 

Their commitment is also to the future of the planet by using only materials that are environmentally friendly and avoiding the use of leather, skins, fur or PVC (polyvinyl chloride).  All of HFS collections are made out of materials that are recycled, upcycled or from deadstock fabric.  

 "Resist" by HFS Collective

"Resist" by HFS Collective

Rachel also purchase items that are Fair Trade for her daily use, with hand-woven baskets being one of her favorites,  “Especially ones that are so versatile you can store a variety of things inside from linens to plants.  The baskets from The Little Market are the perfect accents to house a smaller tree or indoor plants.” 

Both Debra and Rachel love being in the Fair Trade movement because it allows them to meet like-minded people and being introduced to new brands that are conscious of the welfare of the people and the artisans behind the products they make. 

 Dennis & Rachel as panelists at Levo LA's Event "Her Career, Her Way: Fashion!" (pic courtesy of Levo LA's website)

Dennis & Rachel as panelists at Levo LA's Event "Her Career, Her Way: Fashion!" (pic courtesy of Levo LA's website)

For everyone who is new to the sustainable and fair trade fashion world and wants to learn more, Rachel's suggestion is to tune in to the Conscious Chatter Podcast by Kestrel Jenkens.  "She talks about a variety of brands doing good on the planet including some of my fair trade favorites like the brand, Proud Mary."

With the above suggestion, Rachel said her goodbye, as she and HFS Collective continue on to pursue a world where women are liberated from heavy bags and our planet breath a little easier because we have chosen to purchase items that are sustainable, fair trade and vegan.  

 

 

Lolo Santosa