the May First challenge: finding a red shirt that wasn't made in a sweatshop

The golf links lie so near the mill
That almost every day
The laboring children can look out
To see the men at play.
Sarah N. Cleghorn


  1. Oh great post and we are all certainly on the same wavelength these days! GF shared the everlane video with me - I am sure you have seen it - there are so few clothing places that make in NA these days it is getting very hard to know what to do...

    1. I think that's a large part of what's driving me toward vintage...

  2. It is a conundrum. If we stop buying clothes made in developing countries, what happens to the people who have those jobs? It's not like they can easily go down the street and find something better. Often there is a lineup for those jobs because although the compensation seems miniscule to us, it is food on the table and a roof over their heads in an extremely limited labor market. Conditions and wages can improve but it takes time and economic investment that comes from trade. Consider how things evolved in the first world compared to this time last century. It didn't happen in a vacuum.

    Another thing we should remember, infrastructure - Elliot Lake Mall in Canada, Mississippi River Bridge in Minnesota, have collapsed in North America as well not that long ago. Did the Bangladeshi building owner really fund construction of a building with the intention of having it last only such a short time? Regulations, inspections, construction methods, something is corrupt/poorly managed and it is not the fault of the garment workers or even necessarily the building owner, although people will demand he hang because someone must.

    1. You make good points, xoxo, and in fact the b&w photos are from US "factories." The Triangle Shirtwaist fire and the Lawrence, Mass mill disaster are horrible examples. I've stayed in so-called First Class Five Star hotels in China where I could swear the walls were cardboard, and once a building like that is a few years old and showing wear, it's downgraded to serve a different class of traveler, because it's easier to build a new thing than to maintain... And the rabbit warrens where people work in Cambodia are nightmares waiting to happen.

      You're right, too, about the desperation that leads people to crave a job with a pay envelope. I am happy to see that many American companies are insisting on safety regulation and humane treatment of workers as part of their outsourcing contracts, and if this means I can afford less "fast fashion," I'll live with it.

  3. What a poignant quote, and telling photos. Let's hope we can all find red shirts made under humane conditions.

  4. Great quote! I fear that it may be almost impossible to find a red shirt that's made in a non-sweatshop environment....
    Unless you go very high end, and even then, there are no guarantees....

  5. well, once again I turned to vintage. A very high-end red shirt makes a statement, but the wrong one.

    Meanwhile, I read that Disney (Disney!) is continuing its "efforts to disengage" from manufacturing in Bangladesh. Their efforts started after an earlier disaster, a factory fire in which 141 died.

  6. Terrible incident and seemingly inevitable from what we read. Columbia's Jeffrey Sachs falls on the side of having these jobs, although I'm sure he would like to see more safety precautions as well.

  7. It is a very tangled web, but those pictures cut to the chase WFF. I hope some of this momentum builds and it's not just another cause du jour. xoxo is right that it's far from as simple as denying our dollars. And we also can't miss that made on our shores is no guarantee of ethics or superiority. (Furniture factory workers in NC and WV, Mexican and Caribbean migrant labour in supermarket supply chain...)

    Meantime do enjoy your "new to you" piece, sounds cheery.


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