Ten Thousand Villages hosts second Fair Trade Trunk Show, despite Ped Mall construction

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Ten Thousand Villages Fair Trade Trunk Show

105 S Dubuque St, Iowa City — through Sunday, Aug. 5

Children wearing Global Mamas clothing. — photo courtesy of Susan Gingerich

Iowa Citians willing to brave Pedestrian Mall construction can check out Ten Thousand Villages’ second annual Fair Trade Trunk Show. The trunk show is being held in-store now through Aug. 5.

Originally the trunk show was scheduled to take place in a pop-up shop outside of FilmScene and Revival due to construction on the Jefferson Building, where Ten Thousand Villages is located. However, the project to redo doors and windows for all businesses in the building is facing delays.

“The plan was for them to start on ours … [last] Monday and they’re about a month behind,” said Cassidy Bell, store manager of Ten Thousand Villages in Iowa City. “[T]he idea was that we would be potentially closed in our store and so this [pop-up] would be a fun thing to do to keep having sales and to keep us active.”

The first phase of Ped Mall construction focuses on improving the interior. Although pedestrians are able to access businesses, they must navigate small paths along the edges of the buildings to reach them.

“That little corner around Zephyr is really narrow and so it’s kind of hard to get through,” Bell said. “Since you can’t get through College Street we’d only be getting half of the people … It’s pretty easy to get to our store right now since we’re close to Washington Street. There’s not a lot happening down on that end yet. So I hope just by getting the word out people will be interested and make an effort to get in.”

The trunk show features Global Mamas based in Ghana and Mata Traders out of India. Global Mamas hand-craft pieces for children and adults. “They do really beautiful pieces … It’s all really bright, playful, colorful. They just recently started using all organic cotton and we’re really excited about that,” Bell said.

Mata Traders make garments and jewelry geared toward young adult women. The clothing displayed for the trunk show will be “one-of-a-kind” pieces.

“When you sell somebody a product that’s beautiful and hand-crafted and unique, they’re really excited and happy about it so that moment feels good,” Bell said. “Knowing that that moment puts money into the hands of people that desperately need it also feels good.”

Fair trade is good for artisans and workers across the world and can also have a positive impact on the environment.

“What I look for is that the artist or the grower or the maker is getting a fair wage. I think that’s 100 percent the most important thing. My second most important thing is that they’re an environmentally sustainable fashion,” said Bell. “Whenever there’s an eco-friendly option, I try to go for it. I’m excited about it.”

The Ped Mall’s first phase of construction is scheduled to be complete by the end of October.

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“It’s a lot of construction. I think it’s going to be well worth it when it’s done but we just have to get through the summer,” Bell said.

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