Peru: The perfect place to make clothing 

Javier and Elsa, our partners in good near Cajamarca, Peru
 
While small family businesses are increasingly rare in apparel making, this one, run by husband and wife team Javier and Elsa, even further stands apart. Javier and Elsa come from Cajamarca, Peru's Dairyland (kindred spirits to us Wisconsinites). They grow their own organic Pima cotton, run their own small-batch sewing factory in Lima, and serve as a hub for dozens of tiny knitting cooperatives who would struggle to get their products to market without Javier's and Elsa's assistance.
 
Javier and Elsa, our partners in good near Cajamarca, Peru
 
Javier is a farmer at heart. His passion for organic cotton began decades ago when he learned that a staggering 25% of the world’s insecticide is used on cotton, which occupies only 2% of the farmland. His farm, near Ica, is situated in a region ideal for growing the world’s best cotton – Pima cotton. His non-GMO cotton is GOTS-certified organic so it doesn’t contain any pesticides or other harmful chemicals. The farm uses only natural irrigation techniques, grows quinoa in the off-season, and, like all Pima cotton, is picked by hand. This not only limits environmental impact, it also insures the cotton is of the absolute highest quality.
 
Fabric Post Wash
  
From the farm the cotton is spun into yarns and knit into our PREMIUM FABRICS. Color is added with earth-friendly dyes and the fabric is then washed and pre-shrunk. The mill that knits and dyes our fabric treats or recycles 100% of its water. The local water utility even remarks that the water that exits the facility is cleaner than the water that goes in.
 
organic cotton fabric mill
 
 
water recycling machine
 
 
 
The fabric is cut and sewn in Elsa and Javier’s small workshop in the Ate (pronounced Ah-Tay) neighborhood of Lima. Jonny and his team meticulously cut the layers of fabric into panels to be sewn and are obsessed with making sure an absolute minimal amount is wasted. It's like a huge jigsaw puzzle!
 
fair trade clothing factory
 
 
fair trade factory
 
 
sweatshop free clothing
 
Next, the fabric panels are bundled and sent to the sewing area, where operators guide each seam to perfection. It’s definitely a learned skill and a hard day’s work, but fair trade insures they're paid well and treated like family. Unlike in many burnout clothing factories we've seen, employees here have worked for five, ten, even twenty years. Javier and Elsa are like second parents to them.
 
fair trade quality inspection
 
The finished garments are carefully measured and inspected to adhere to high quality standards that the business has developed over its many years in business.
 
packing team
 
Daniel and the packing team are the final stop before the clothing makes its journey north. This is the only area where we Fair Indigans feel like we can jump in and "help" the team, which we often do as it's so satisfying to see the fruits of everyone's labor. Go team!