Are fair trade products more expensive?

The short answer is yes. The longer answer is sometimes it’s actually more cost effective.

Fair trade products are premium products. You can’t compare a hand-crafted, organic cotton t-shirt with one made as quickly and cheaply as possible in a sweatshop—they are simply not the same quality. So you would need to compare apples and apples. Assuming we’re doing that, fair trade doesn’t actually tend to cost more. This is because fair trade clothing is made higher-quality than the overwhelming majority of fast fashion brands. It’s common to need to replace a cheap shirt several times in the lifetime of a fair trade shirt. A fair trade garment typically doesn’t cost several times the price of a fast fashion garment, so you actually save money in that way. Fair trade encourages folks to purchase fewer things overall, and purchase those things for their quality and longevity. This is better for our wallets and also better for the people and planet who provide our goods to us! And imagine the time and energy you save when you invest in high-quality garments that you won’t need to replace for a decade or more!

Further reading