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Mary Embry
Department of Apparel Merchandising and Interior Design

Last modified: Tuesday, November 30, 2010

IU's Fair Trade Holiday Sale Dec. 2, 3 at Indiana Memorial Union

Nov. 30, 2010

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Artisan-crafted items from more than 30 countries will be available for purchase at Indiana University's Fair Trade Holiday Sale from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 2 and Friday, Dec. 3 in the Frangipani Room at the Indiana Memorial Union.

The sixth annual Fair Trade Holiday sale is presented by Fair Trade Bloomington, a nonprofit organization created by IU's Students in Free Enterprise organization (SIFE).

On sale will be handmade jewelry, holiday ornaments, baskets, woolens, tableware, textiles, toys, and many other items. This year's sale will include items from the Indianapolis-based The Village Experience, a socially proactive business that sells fair trade products produced by artisan groups visited during international trips.

The sale will also feature work by students in Lecturer Megan Abaijan's S200 Fine Arts textiles course and textiles and traditional backstrap loom products by the 250 plus Guatemalan artists of the fair trade cooperative Mayan Hands. The IU students and Guatemalan artists did a textile exchange, a project arranged by Gaby Cheikh, Fair Trade Bloomington's Advocate for Community Engagement.

"The Fair Trade Sale brings a world of creative cultural products to campus," Cheikh said. "Shoppers can find gifts representing all areas of the globe that are unique and have the added feature of sustainably supporting the most marginalized people."

The Fair Trade Holiday Market offers both a personal learning experience for IU students and a means of community outreach. SIFE also partners with Global Gifts, a 100 percent fair trade store on the square in downtown Bloomington, to develop engaging student experiences that support both fair trade and interest in global issues.

The concept of fair trade is based upon established business guidelines designed to improve the economic conditions of underdeveloped, poverty stricken countries. These guidelines include paying workers fair prices for their goods, paying workers in advance for goods, maintaining orders, monitoring working conditions, empowering women and using environmentally sound practices.

IU's SIFE group formed Fair Trade Bloomington to help educate area residents about contributing to global economic development and poverty relief through promotion of products that adhere to fair trade principles. The organization's activities are supported by the IU Department of Apparel Merchandising and Interior Design in the College of Arts and Sciences both financially and with guidance of faculty advisors who facilitate the students' ability to design and execute their projects.

SIFE is led by Professor Mary Embry, a Sam Walton Fellow and faculty member in the Retail Studies Program within the Apparel Merchandising and Interior Design department. For more information, see For more information about the IU Department of Apparel Merchandising and Interior Design, see