Monday, March 10, 2008

Sweatshop labor and clothing

In my old age (or is it my idealistic phase... heard that in Clueless that Babe and I watched a couple months ago. I thought Clueless was the coolest thing ever when I was in like 7th grade... now... it wasn't so entertaining. I feel old) I'm getting more and more concerned with sweatshop labor. Am I supporting mean bosses and communist countries with my clothing purchases? Are the people sewing my clothes treated badly? What about child labor... did a child work long hours on dangerous machinery so I could get a cute maternity shirt?

To avoid sweatshop labor I first try to shop used. For Babe I'm able to find stuff used often, and the profits actually go to small local, often mom-owned, second hand stores or a charity such as Montana Rescue Mission.

Next, I try to find clothing made in the US, Canada, or Europe. I was disappointed to find out that even Hanna Andersson has some of their items made in China. Though, if they run their own factories it may not be as bad as a company such as Gap, Nike, or Carter's.

I still fail. The baby clothing section in Walmart is right between the fabric section and the grocery section, both places of which I frequent. The spring flowery little girls clothing called to me. I looked. I put items back. I took them again, and finally checked out with a little spring pajama top and pants for Babe, for 6.28. Made in Pakistan. While I'm sure there are non-sweatshop clothing manufacturers in Pakistan, most likley if I"m paying for a top and pants for 6.28, they are not getting a fair or even close to fair wage.

Regardless, I renew my vow to do a better job at resisting impulsive purchases like this. And I will be more diligent in saving up for a serger so I can make my own...

But then we even get into the issue of where fabric is made, and sadly, a lot of it is made in 3rd world countries with awful conditions.


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