Are Your Clothes Made With Integrity…?
Happy Monday Loves,
What I am about to report will be shocking, disappointing and for some, unbelievable. When was the last time you took a look at your tag to check what country this piece was made in? After last week’s blog posting (http://www.thebaffledblog.com/2017/01/counterfeiter-costing-us-our-childhood.html#links), I had a very interesting conversation with my older sissy. She asked “how would you feel if Erin (my ten-year-old niece) were making your clothes to earn a living, and only getting paid $0.50 to make something that retails for $95. 00? Gwyne, you speak high of ethics but were your jeans made with integrity?”
Rather than stitching my own clothing for a living, I decided it was best to educate myself on the labor conditions in other countries. In an effort not to oust a large brand name company for their unethical practices, I will refer to this company as “Store” throughout this blog.
Here in the U.S., we outlawed child labor in the early 20th century. In the late 1700's and early 1800's many children began working before the age of 7, tending machines, for about 50 to 70 hours a week, in factories that were later deemed unsafe for children. These children made a wage of 40 cents to $1.10 per night. Eventually the U.S. realized this labor practice was cruel and created law to protect our youth. Finally, in 1938, Congress passed the Fair Labor Standards Act (make this Act a link to the Act itself). The FLS Act made minimum ages of 16 for work during school hours, 14 for certain jobs after school, and 18 for dangerous work. (https://www.scholastic.com/teachers/articles/teaching-content/history-child-labor/)
However, there are some retail brands that believe, while American children should not work, and get paid slave wedges, children of third world countries aren’t as important. A spokeswoman for a large Store, told The Huffington Post that the company had done “a tremendous amount” of due diligence, and we understand the importance of playing a leadership role in creating opportunity for the women and building a sustainable garment industry.” Yet it was reported the conditions for workers in this particular factor remain dire, according to a report released by a trio of local labor groups. These researchers found that factory workers toiled away “in unsafe, hot, overcrowded facilities.” It was also reported, the workers usually worked 11-hour shifts for six days each week. Additionally, more than half of the laborers interviewed by investigators said they earned between $25 and $37 per month — the lowest wages in the region. Does this sound like due diligence to you? (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/11/gap-myanmar_n_5481484.html)
The Store reported above is just one of the numerous brand that have an unethical double standard that fills their bank accounts. Think about the women and children in your lives and imagine them in a hazardous factory working for coins. If it is not okay in the U.S., it should not be legal for U.S companies to have slaves on foreign soil.
I am not advising you to make your own clothes; I am merely asking you all, to do your research, and shop with integrity.