CHANDLER’S Ford was awash with fashion-lovers on the weekend when St Martin’s church hosted a fair-trade catwalk.

Sixteen models paraded clothes and accessories from the collections of Traidcraft, Braintree, Nomads and Kazuri sporting a range of glamorous dresses, handcrafted necklaces, wardrobe-staple tees and men’s shirts.

The event also featured a guest appearance from Dorothy Agard, a banana farmer from St Lucia in the Windward Isles, who spoke of the benefits brought to her community by being a fair-trade farmer.

She said: “I was shocked to see bananas on sale in the UK for 68p a kilo. Now I understand why banana farmers in St Lucia are struggling even to survive. My personal passion is for the education scholarship.

“Every year we ensure the children of the poorest families can get to secondary school. It gives them a real chance to succeed in the future. I say to people in Hampshire, please buy fairtrade bananas, otherwise we will not survive.”

The Fairtrade Foundation used the event to launch a new campaign to support foreign banana farmers. The campaign is calling on Business Secretary Vince Cable to investigate the impact of unsustainable supermarket banana pricing, to protect the millions of farmers who grow the UK’s favourite fruit.

In the last ten years the price of loose bananas has halved despite the price of production doubling.

Event organiser Tricia Urquhart said: “The fairtrade mark guarantees a minimum price for producers, and an extra premium which must be spent for the benefit of the wider community – not just the farmers. So many fairtrade products are available these days – not just fashion and bananas.

“I really recommend that shoppers look for the fairtrade mark as they do their weekly shop. Sometimes these products are slightly more expensive than alternatives, but when you see the difference this makes in the lives of poor communities, you understand what great value they are.”