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Spring Fair 2016: Fair Trade & Trends


We’re Lisa and Maria, two students from Birmingham School of Jewellery interning for the week. Back in February we joined Just Trade on their stand at the NEC Spring Fair 2016

We were set the task of exploring the 14 halls packed with various retailers, many of which included fellow Fair Trade companies. We had a fantastic time chatting to the exhibitors and finding out more about their stories and the groups they work with. In addition, Laura asked us to check out upcoming trends and see what exciting new products will be on the market in the Autumn 2016.

Aura Que’s selection of contemporary accessories is by British designer Laura Queening, who told us about her hands on approach to working with communities in Nepal. Using her own fashion knowledge, combined with traditional Nepalese techniques and their materials, Laura has helped empower disabled and disadvantaged people; all while creating beautiful design led pieces suitable for a western audience, but with an Asian influence. In particular, her Ista Felt Tote in Black/Grey we think will be great for Autumn/Winter as fits with the ‘Elemental’ trend forecast of minimal shapes, tinted greys and cool tones.

Artisans Fair is bought to you by Traidcraft, who specialise in developing

high quality, fair trade products from South America, Africa and Asia. They collaborate with craftspeople by using their complex, traditional skills and help to refine designs to bring a range of vibrant home wares to the UK. With a focus on recycled/upcycled and natural materials, Artisans Fair encompasses the fair trade ethos wholeheartedly. The colourful Baskets caught our eye and we think they’re on trend for ‘Off Beat’ and ‘Artisan’ this Autumn/Winter. Using bright and vibrant colours including tomato red, apple green, and Indiana blue with off white, the shapes are playful and have a hands-on, eco feel.

Paper High started life due to a couple’s mutual love for travelling, unique items and ethical values. For Mark and Claire, Asia captured their hearts and in particular the Nepalese capital city of Kathmandu. This was where they happened to meet a handmade paper seller and from this small starting block, their company grew. They source all their products from small family businesses, charities and disadvantaged people and pride themselves on having close personal relationships with all of these. Their range of products has diversified over the years such as wooden print blocks, decorations and scarves. Our pick for Autumn/Winter are the Indra Leather Journals in mahogany tones. They fit perfectly with the trends of ‘Artisan’ and ‘Remaster’ with rich colours in updated classic styles being the key look for Remaster and handmade techniques, tactile textures and eco material focused designs referencing the Artisan theme.

We felt this small selection of Fair Trade companies were some of the friendliest, and represented a fraction of the wide variety of Fair Trade products available.

We were pleased to meet so many people and learn more about why these companies started, many with a similar ethos and history to Just Trade.

Back at Just Trade HQ, one of our favourites, and one of their best selling items from the show was the Alexandra Bangle, which could become a staple accessory in your jewellery collection. The brushed metal effect of the brass bangle is spot on with the ‘remaster’ trend for this year, but also transfers well through Spring/Summer 17, as featured in Pulse’s trend report for the ‘Modernist’ look. We also got the chance to have a sneak peek at Just Trade’s new collection, which will be launched at Pulse May 2016. Slightly different to their current collections, we look forward to seeing the finalised designs and definitely think you should check it out!

We’ve thoroughly enjoyed our time in London with the JT team and feel incredibly lucky to be given the chance to work with and learn from such lovely, talented people. Thank you!

Lisa Reason & Maria Walmsley


Find Lisa and Maria on Instagram.. @lisa.reason & @bustinmakesmefeelgood


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