The aftermath of the December 14, 2010 factory fire. Photo courtesy of AP.
So as some of you may know, while I spend my days as an intern for Brynn Capella, my nights are filled with homework and graduate school. One of my most recent assignments sparked some office conversation, because I had to write a piece on garment factory labor over in Bangladesh.
You might remember the factory fire from about a year and a half ago--it was one of the worst factory fires in years, and it resulted in the deaths of 29 workers. The fire stemmed from an electrical shortage, but it just brought to light the even bigger problem of poor working conditions and low wages. Brands like Tommy Hilfiger, H&M, Gap, and Kohl's all produced items there, and yet none of these companies did much to help remedy the problem.
That all changed after ABC News did an expose on the 2010 Bangladesh fire, and as a result most of these companies have now pledged to try and make a difference. Our question to you though, is why were they even producing there in the first place? They obviously didn't care about labor conditions, because even after the fire catastrophe, none of these brands did anything significant to try and change the situation. They boast these ethical labor practices on their websites, and yet there's no evidence to support their high-minded claims.
That is just another reason why we feel so passionate about our "Made in the US" label. Brynn goes to visit her contractors in person, and while their cost of production may be higher, at least their workers are treated fairly. These Bangladesh workers are gated in to make sure they don't leave their machines, and their monthly wage is a measly $45--the same amount US workers were getting paid in the EARLY 1900's.
Bangladesh may be one of the cheapest places to produce garments, but it is only because sad and tragic conditions have allowed for these price points. So to end my tirade, I would beg you to re-consider purchasing from those overseas producers; you don't always know what you're paying for, and it's just not worth the moral dilemma.