Miss A Columnist

Chanoa Chen is a fashion professional and freelance writer with a penchant for international travel. Her fashion expertise and credentials include a Bachelor of Arts degree in Fashion Merchandising from Miami International University of Art & Design in addition to over a decade of experience working and volunteering in the fashion industry. Chanoa has worked or volunteered for a number of established industry names including Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Guess, Zara and Miami Fashion Week. Her professional experience has found her working in several different sectors from retail management to wholesale representation.

Her work as a freelance journalist, magazine writer and blogger specializes in fashion, music, luxury goods and lifestyle and may be found in sources that include QVC Insider Germany, Examiner.com, Time Warner and Tilllate Magazine.

Chanoa hails from upstate New York and was largely raised in South Florida. While South Florida continues to be one of her home bases, Ms. Chen also spends her time living in Eastern Europe – with colder months spent in Belgrade, Serbia and warmer months on the coasts of the Adriatic Sea in Montenegro. Chanoa speaks the languages of former Yugoslavia (Montenegrin/Serbian/Bosnian/Croatian) in addition to some Spanish and she is currently studying Italian in her free time.

Ethical Fashion Initiative Connects an International Workforce with Top Global Brands

The Ethical Fashion Initiative of the International Trade Centre (ITC) focuses on connecting individuals with limited

Workers and Major Fashion Labels Working Together via the Ethical Fashion Initiative

Workers and Major Fashion Labels Working Together via the Ethical Fashion Initiative
Photo Credit: Intracen.org

resources to be able to work with some of the finest fashion brands on the planet. The initiative spearheaded by Simone Cipriani is also an important measure to eliminate waste and promote sustainability – the main goal of a committee established by the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the United Nations (UN).

The Ethical Fashion Initiative works with a workforce of individuals in Haiti, Ghana, Kenya, the West Bank and Mali & Burkina Faso to empower and offer them employment opportunities. Talented artisans are given opportunities to work with some of the biggest names in fashion as well as non-skilled workers who are then trained to learn sought after crafts and skills so that they may work productively and support their families. Even press material support is provided in the form of professional photography and videography.

Skilled Artisans Produce Designer Fashion Items  Photo Credit: Intracen.org

Skilled Artisans Produce Designer Fashion Items
Photo Credit: Intracen.org

95% of the workforce consists of females so the Ethical Fashion Initiative is also an exciting way to empower women. These women are able to support themselves and their families while taking care of important necessities including education and medical expenses. Having the opportunity to work in the fashion industry is a wonderful escape from any other existing alternatives for getting by in their communities.

However, it is not only the workers who gain advantages. The partnering fashion companies that include the likes of Vivienne Westwood, Stella McCartney, Macy’s, Marni and 10 Corso Como also reap the benefits of having complete products produced by some of the most skilled artisans in the world. In fact, former Sass & Bide designer, Sarah-Jane Clarke, had this to say: “The craftswomen in Africa are amongst the most talented artisans in the world – there is a real truth about their work. The standard comes from tradition and attention to detail that is unparalleled. We couldn’t be happier with the final product.” By working with such luxurious fashion brands, the Ethical Fashion Initiative is promoting and reinforcing a

A Professional Photoshoot Made Possible by the Ethical Fashion Initiative Photo Credit: Intracen.org

A Professional Photoshoot Made Possible by the Ethical Fashion Initiative Photo Credit: Intracen.org

powerful message. Fair trade labor opportunities do not have to be limited to simpler products and projects. These artisans are more than capable of learning and using the skills sought out by some of the biggest fashion houses on the planet.

All fashion products produced as a result of these partnerships are created with attention to sustainability and environmentally-friendly practices. Everything is closely monitored to ensure that labor and ethical trade standards are met or surpassed and that the artisans are able to earn sufficient funds to provide for their families. The Ethical Fashion Initiative has partnered with the likes of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Kenya Export Promotion Council, the Ghana Ministry of Trade and Industry.

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