Hey everyone, I wanted to stop in here because I also love fashion, but I've become increasingly interested in anti-sweatshop activism during the last three years, which has changed my shopping habits dramatically. Clothes are being made all over the world for stores like Target, Nordstrom, The Gap, Old Navy, Levi's, Abercrombie, American Eagle, and tons of other companies by young women for often, less than fifty cents an hour. Most of these workers aren't even making a wage they can live off of. They don't get health insurance or workman's compensation if they are hurt on the job. In many cases, the bosses are verbally, physically, and sexually abusive to their young female employees who sew the clothes we buy in the U.S. for inflated prices. There have also been cases of sweatshops forcing their employees to get abortions or holding them captive as slaves. The huge profits go to the retailers. This is wrong!
This is how sweatshops work: a brand company (like Nike) makes an offer to a subcontractor for a job they need filled. The subcontractor then finds a garment factory to fill Nike's order. Trying to bid for the jobs, the garment factories/sweatshops will compete by offering the lowest price to secure the job of making Nike shoes. The subcontractor then gives the job to the sweatshop who is willing to offer them the lowest price, even when that agreement breaks all of the laws over at the Department of Labor. The people actually sewing stuff in sweatshops are usually young immigrant women who are uneducated and don't speak English. Or they might be young women in developing nations without other job alternatives. So, they are basically forced to take jobs that pay under $2 a day.
These people make the clothes you see in Wal*Mart and Target right now. There have also been successful campaigns against DKNY and Forever 21. Both of these companies have stepped up to the plate about their responsibility to stop young women workers in sweatshops from being abused. I love fashion, but I also have ethics. So, I put together a list of companies that sell clothes, but they also are either unionized or engaging in fair trade. If you are interested in knowing more about ethical consumption, I started this community: anti_sweatshops. There really is no reason for this kind of abuse and exploitation to continue.
DeMoulin Brothers - unionized manufacturer, uniforms, formal men's wear.
Fuerza Unida - run by former Levi's workers, screened t-shirts, canvas bags.
Global Exchange's Fair Trade stores - clothing, accessories, crafts, jewelry, coffee, and chocolate.
Justice Clothing - unionized, sweatshop-free clothes.
Leather Coats Etc. - unionized.
North Country Fair Trade - fair trade manufacturers in Latin America.
No Sweat, the first international union-made brand, clothes, shoes.
Nueva Vida - a worker-owned co-op, t-shirts and camisoles.
Protexall - unionized, uniform manufacturing.
Union House - unionized, clothing.
Union Wear - unionized, clothing.
Union Jeans - unionized, denim shirts.
Fair Trade Federation
Bishopstron Trading Company - organic, fair-trade clothes.
Ethical Threads - wholesale t-shirts.
Gossypium - organic cotton, fair-trade.
Kuyichi - clothes.
Made in Dignity
People Tree - fair trade, clothes.
Sweat X - clothes, site is under construction.
Öko-Fair - fair trade, clothes.
Shop Union Made
Shop union made at UNITE!
Responsible Shopper - union made, sweatfree.
American Apparel is also sweatshop free.