Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Blood, Sweat & T-Shirts

Last Friday I had time to catch up on my tv watching, and stumbled across a pretty impactful show on Planet Green (originally aired on BBC).  It's a documentary series called Blood, Sweat & T-Shirts and it placed five twenty-something Londoners who love cheap fashion inside Indian garment factories.  They lived with the workers, worked in the factories, and saw how little their paychecks go despite the hard work and long hours.  A stick of deodorant cost an entire day's wages for someone on the sewing tables.

I will admit that I don't give much thought to where my clothes come from.  I know most all of our clothes are made in foreign factories but I trusted that conditions were decent.  On this show, I recognized labels from Target and was really saddened by the fact that the people who make those shirts make around $2 per day and live in poverty.  And that's in the nice factory!  There were lots of factories that were just disgusting and the workers had to sleep there under the sewing machines.

You can read about the show here 

It really made me think about the true price of a $7.99 shirt.  If we keep buying these clothes and putting pressure on retailers to keep prices so low, then we're supporting the need for low wages so that a shirt will cost only 25 cents to produce.   Then, on the other hand, I know there are people here who can't afford to spend $25 on a shirt made by well-paid workers and if orders are reduced, those same Indian workers will have no job at all.  What's a girl to do?

I know I can't buy all my clothes from Etsy and vintage stores, and the fair trade clothing sites I've found features lots of plain, unfashionable stuff.  So, internet, what do you think we should do?  Know any good sites that sell cute fair trade clothing (besides American Apparel)?  Share with the rest of us!


  1. You might want to try out Alternative Apparel- they have a social responsibility standard that is much better than the average clothing manufacturer. I just stocked up on T-shirts because there is a 40% off sale plus free shipping with the code CPF611. HTH!



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