Exercise One: The Global Closet:
I chose to look at eight different items of clothing I have. I looked at a pair of jeans made in Mexico, a Nike t-shirt made in Honduras, a Propper brand sweat shirt made in China, a Ralph Lauren Polo shirt made in China, a pair of pajama pants made in Cambodia, a pair of Columbia shorts made in Cambodia, bathing suit bottoms from American Eagle made in Vietnam and another Propper brand shirt that I wear for work that was made in Bangladesh. The countries from the clothing items found in East Asia include China, and Cambodia, and Vietnam which are both located to the southeast of Asia. The countries found in Latin America include Honduras, and Mexico.
There was no differences in where the item was made and where it was assembled on any of the clothing products I looked at. There was also no indication on any of the labels of where the fabric originated from. A lot of the information shown on the tags are information regarding washing procedures and instructions. There were no indications of anything else besides where it was made and the size and brand of the product.
Exercise Three: Are Your Favorite Brands “Sweat Free”?
My favorite brand of clothing is Columbia. My favorite brand of shoes is Salomon and another favorite brand of mine is Luminox Watches. Luminox Watches are not made in sweatshops but are made here in the United States and Switzerland. These watches are made for the US Army, Navy Seals, and United Sates Airforce. Columbia and Salomon’s are. Salomon’s stance on sweatshop labor is to ensure that the factories are safe and fair places to work within. They have standards implemented to follow certain protocols and policies, but these have not always been followed, especially in Thailand. They take the sweatshop labor seriously and try their best to make it a safe and efficient workplace with minimal problems. It was very hard to find any information pertaining to sweatshops and Columbia Sportswear however, I found an interesting document showing where all of Columbia is manufactured. Even though it is a United States based company, the products are all mostly made out of the United States.
The workers that make these brands and any other brands most likely do not get paid minimum wages and also face poor working conditions with many exposures to toxins and pollutants as well as long working hours. The workers also get treated very unfairly and often face a lot of discrimination. It is very illegal to not pay workers minimal wage and if the right person finds out about factories underpaying their workers, they will have to face consequences. There are such a large amount of factories and sweatshops across the world, I just cannot even imagine what it would be like to have to make a job out of something like that. We are so fortunate today in America to have opportunities for jobs and mandatory minimal wage and we often take this very for granted.