Monday, August 13, 2007

Totally Lame

Lifted from the internet: TopShop sucks. I haven't been buying from mass retailers like TopShop, H&M, Forever21 and the like for some years now...and this news item is exactly the reason why. There is no way to assure sweatshop-free labor when a product is manufactured in a developing country, short of visiting the factory yourself. Sure, many companies have warm and fuzzy declarations on their websites promising social responsibility but really, how can a multi-national corporation concerned with making BILLIONS of dollars in profit really concern itself with the payment and treatment of employees in factories far, far away from corporate HQ?

For me, the only way to ensure that my dress/shoes/t-shirt were made without slave labor is for the item to have a tag on it that says "Made in the USA" or in a European country, specifically a member of the EU. Even better for it to say "Fair Trade." Otherwise, I always assume that sweatshop labor was used for the product, regardless of the factory inspection assurances of the companies. Another great reason to buy vintage/used clothing: no blood on your hands.

More info: Sweatshop Watch; Co-op America


stella said...

Have you checked out
they have thousands of US-made products including clothing on their awesome site.

Kata said...

Thanks so much for the link!

Cath said...

We should all ponder whether slave labor is worth the cheaply made products we get in return.

suzanne d. said...

Interesting post! makes me think of a book I just read called "Deluxe," about the luxury fashion biz. The writer goes into a good amount of detail about how manufacturers manage to get around product-labeling regulations -- for instance, most of a shoe can be made in China, but if just one small part is made in Italy, and that's the last part attached to the shoe, the shoe can legally bear a "Made In Italy" tag. Just something I thought of when I read your "Made In The USA" comment... it's infuriating that these labels cannot always be taken to mean what they say!

Kata said...

Suzanne...that sucks. I normally check out a company beforehand though so I am not solely relying on the tag, cause there are sweatshops in the USA too unfortunately. But still, it's frustrating that consumer culture is controlled by the producers trying to make money off of the consumer instead of having regulations and laws that serve the consumer.

suzanne d. said...

Agreed. And while I think it's really great that you check out the companies you shop from beforehand, it seems unrealistic to think that most people will do that -- which is why, as you said, these labels, regulations, etc. are supposed to, er, mean something.