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In this paper I present a reassessment of trading partnerships within the Fair Trade model. I propose an alternative historical interpretation of the mainstreaming of Fair Trade and challenge the existing narrative that depicts the seemingly inevitable dilution of Fair Trade’s original values and co-optation by corporate interests. The focus of this paper is on Fair Trade organisations based in Britain, it builds on research undertaken as part of my PhD. The general conclusions may be more broadly applicable, but there is still further work needed in order understand the differences and distinct national characters of the Fair Trade movement as it has developed in Europe, USA, Australia and the producer countries of the global South.