In my article “Celebrating Valentine’s Day As A Family” published in Model Life Magazine‘s February 2014 Love Issue, I mentioned that buying Fair Trade Certified items showed generosity and love to others. As I wrote the article, I anticipated receiving shoes from a company Oliberté, whose shoes were Fair Trade Certified and made in sub-Sahara Africa. I wanted to encourage my readers to think about the impact their purchases made on a commercialized holiday. Now, because my husband Ryan tried out his Valentine’s Day gift from me, which were some rustic Oliberté Manilo shoes, I examined the product.
Fair Trade Men’s Shoes
When the shoes arrived at my house, my husband excitedly snapped a photo of the product that I posted on Facebook with a short description. After a couple of minutes, a connection on my social network replied that he didn’t realize the Fair Trade label required certification and he wanted to know what went into making a product Fair Trade Certified. Researching online, I found a section on the company’s website stating, “We are proud to be the first ever footwear manufacturing factory to be Fair Trade Certified by Fair Trade USA, and as result produce the world’s first Fair Trade Certified™ footwear.” I discovered that the company was required to pass over 255 compliance factors as well as a two day audit. Now, the company could boast having over double the minimum wage in Ethiopia, no child labor, women’s equal rights, 90 days of maternity leave, and more. I wanted to try the shoes because of the philanthropic story, and I was happy that the purchase was more than a donation to a good cause.
Review of the Men’s Shoes
Because Valentine’s Day was approaching, I let my husband Ryan pick his favorite pair in the winter 2014 collection. Ryan found an article about the Manilos in Men’s Journal, and he was excited to try a pair that had already received some press. Trying out the shoes, Ryan explained to me that he was happy that the shoes could be appropriate for multiple seasons and different occasions. Cheerfully, I watched my husband get excellent use out of the shoes as he wore the product to church, out to dinner, and to RCIA. The product did look narrow at first glance. After Ryan tried the shoes out for a couple of weeks, he analyzed that the product stretched out and became much more comfortable with regular use. As I had a background of volunteering in the fashion industry for several years, I wholeheartedly would recommend the product for its fashionable look. I felt that the shoes would look very fashionable with some nice designer jeans.
I received a free product, but it in no way influenced my opinion.