There was both an air of expectation and a real Fairtrade buzz around the school hall at Currie High School (CHS) on 27 February as the Lord Provost of Edinburgh, Councillor Frank Ross, together with Doreen MacKinnon, CHS’s Headteacher, opened a unique
event in the remarkable history of Fairtrade in Scotland: the first ever public showing of the New Fairtrade Foundation film about Fairtrade cotton and the new Fairtrade Textile Standard.
The showing of the new Fairtrade Foundation film, “Unravelling the Thread”, was organised by Russell Salton, the Chair of the Edinburgh Fair Trade City Group and his team, in conjunction with Koolskools and the very Fairtrade-friendly staff at Currie High School. Also present to see the film for the first time was Martin Rhodes, the Director of the Scottish Fair Trade Forum. The SFTF have been raising awareness of the vulnerability of developing country cotton farmers and advocating for Fairtrade cotton and Fairtrade school uniform for many years.
There was also a special mention at the event of two great Fairtrade school uniform champions: Alison Nind, the recently retired Fairtrade champion at Currie High School; and Rachel Farey of the Edinburgh One World Shop who, as previous Chair of the EFTCG, did so much to encourage Edinburgh schools to embrace Fairtrade uniform.
The gathering of CHS students, joined by a cross-section of Edinburgh schools, were treated to a truly impactful and thought-provoking film about how our clothes are made, which showed the difficulties that developing country cotton farmers have in selling their cotton at a fair price.
The students also heard about the plight of developing country clothing factory workers, before learning about how they can help and have a real voice, through holding the big brands to account and insisting on buying Fairtrade cotton clothes produced by factories signed up to the new Fairtrade Textile Standard.
Andy of Koolskools, who facilitated the session and ran through a set of Q and As with the students linked to the facts in the film, said after the event: “This was one of the most rewarding Fairtrade events of the many that Koolskools has had the pleasure of
facilitating over the history of our Fairtrade clothing project. In addition to nailing the Q and As, the students excelled themselves by asking some superb questions of Koolskools and our Fairtrade-licensed supply chain, which showed that the film had really hit home”.
The Lord Provost commented in his opening remarks on how fitting it was that the first ever Secondary school in Scotland to wear (Koolskools) Fairtrade cotton uniform, Currie High, should host the first ever showing of “Unravelling the Thread” in a City where more schools were wearing Fairtrade uniform than any other in the UK – and probably the world!
Koolskools is enormously grateful to the Lord Provost of Edinburgh, the EFTCG, Currie High School and the Scottish Fair Trade Forum for their tremendous support both for the Fairtrade Foundation film showing, and for Fairtrade cotton school uniforms and clothing more generally.