Wal-Mart and buying clothes without supporting sweatshops

I feel like less of a human being now. I didn’t completely realize that apparently every company I patronize manufactures its goods in a foreign sweatshop. I already knew about Nike and believe that Wal-Mart is evil, but then I read this report, well namely I looked at the little pop-up window that comes up when you click the word “sweatshops” on that page. Liz Claiborne, JC Penney?! And I’m sure the list is longer than that. But they’ve just knocked out most of the manufacturers and stores in the area. What do you do if you want to buy clothes and goods that weren’t made under unacceptable work conditions? :frowning:

Just keep looking for the “Made in U.S.A.” label. That’s about all you can do, unless you want to do the Martha Stewart thing and start sewing all your own clothes.

Although, OTOH, it’s worthwhile to bear in mind that by buying their goods, you ARE probably keeping them alive. Those women earning 30 cents an hour are putting food on the table for their families, and if you boycott their goods, it’s not necessarily going to change their lives for the better–they’ll just be out of a job.

Which can’t be good.

We live in a very complex modern society, and there aren’t any easy answers. Sorry. :frowning:

Yeah, isn’t it ironic that by doing something “good” (not buying sweatshop made clothing) you may actually end up making their lives worse? Ok, maybe not irnoic. Sure sucks though. As per the OP’s question, I’d also suggest the made in U.S.A. labels. Really though, as long as it aint slave labor, or as long as I dont know its slave labor, I’m ok with it.
dead0man…another American, keeping his head burried in the sand


Well, ok. From my knowledge, Target is one of the better companies about monitoring and approving factories. Production location is checked against their approved list and if the factory does not appear on it, they charge back the manufacturer.

And buying clothing “made in the USA” is no guarantee that it’s not sweatshop made, I’m sorry to say. Those goods might be made in a NY or LA sweatshop that employees immigrant labor. Then again, they may be made in Virginia, in a factory that does contract sewing and is staffed by people who have worked there all their lives.

It’s hard to guarantee that the clothes we are buying are not sweatshop made. There are some retailers that are better than others about making sure. Even Wal-Mart has become better, after their PR fiascos.

The fact that you’ve at least considered the issue indicates you don’t have your head buried all the way. I believe that if a majority of consumers even knew or cared about the existence of sweatshops, sweatshop products would be much less attractive to retailers.

Thrift shops are pretty safe, not to mention much better value than retail.

You know, I did a little experiment about the time Kathy Lee Gifford got in trouble for exploiting sweatshop workers for her clothing line. I usually shop for my clothes in Walmart and Target(yeah, I’m cheap) and I looked in all the labels. Except for t-shirts, everything I looked at was made overseas. I will agree with the poster above who said that maybe you could start making your clothes. I have a few patterns and some fabric and will start making some clothes for myself.

Thank you for the info–I’ll start checking out Target more often instead of Wal-Mart. Anyone know if there is any sort of consumer group who keeps track of this issue?

Whew…ok. There are lots of them (I work for a clothing manufacturer, ok?)

http://www.wrapapparel.org (industry page. WRAP = Worldwide Responsible Apparel Production)
http://www.dol.gov/dol/esa/public/garment/index.htm (information on problem factories within the US)
A google search for sweatshops will bring up many more links…if these don’t suit your needs, I’m sure there’s one out there that will.