It costs only $5.85 to have it “sustainably” made in America

It costs only $5.85 to have it “sustainably” made in America

Why are garment workers being paid $5.85 in Los Angeles, California when the minimum wage is $15.00?

What actually is at cost is someone’s life.

We are all at fault.

The lack of information we are being provided, the constant ads we are being shown for the next best thing.

For those who live in the States, we are told that buying “American Made” can lower greenhouse gases, therefore, being the most sustainable option. This false narrative is also known as “greenwashing”. Green washing is when brands advertise ethically made goods when in fact it is far from the truth.  

Los Ángeles, California is the largest production hub for the US. There are “46,200 garment workers, who are mainly immigrant women from Mexico and Central America. This makes the garments industry the second-largest creative economy” as stated by REMAKE, a sustainable fashion collective.

Los Ángeles Garment Workers

Some more FACTS:

  • Garment workers in Los Angeles work a 57.4 hour work week and are only paid on average $334 a week, with no compensation for meals and rest breaks or overtime. (Source: Garment Worker Center)
  • The average hourly wage for garment workers in Los Angeles is $5.85, far below the LA minimum wage of $15 per hour for workplaces with 26 or more employees. (Source: Garment Worker Center)
  • According to wage theft claims, some garment workers in L.A. are earning as little as $2.68 an hour through the piece-rate system of pay. (Source: Garment Worker Center)
  • According to a Garment Worker Center analysis of data collected by the L.A. County Department of Health, as of December 8, 2020, at least 546 employees of garment manufacturing businesses in Los Angeles have been exposed to the novel coronavirus

Are you awake now?

Not all is at lost. There IS a solution and it is called SB62.

SB62 is the – Garment Worker Protection Act which improves working conditions in America’s largest garment industry. In short, it will-

1. Eliminate piece-rate pay and enforce minimum wage for factory workers

2. Hold brands accountable for sub-minimum wage pay in factories that produce their garments

3. Increase enforcement of wage laws up the supply chain

This bill was introduced in the California legislature in December 2020 for the 2021 legislative cycle and will be voted on throughout the year. The first deadline of the four phases is March 21, 2020.

Apparel Shop in Los Ángeles

Small sustainable fashion brands are struggling. They have a challenge to compete when they are frequently undercut by the many businesses paying their workers’ subminimum wages. In short, it’s currently cheaper to break the law, and many brands are complicit in it” as stated by the Garment Workers Center.

Let’s take action!

  • If you want to make a difference you can sign the petition here: By signing you are holding brands accountable and putting an end to this modern sweatshop regime. Along with changing consumer habits, we must be a voice for ethical manufacturing and the garment workers who make all our clothes possible.

Systemic changes are needed.

Integrity needs to be upheld for all things “Made In The USA”.
Food Textile Image courtesy of Textile Japan

Slow fashion (lower volume) is just one of the answers to the overall problem.

From here forward you can expect posts that activate your innate creativity and as well as education on current topics involving sustainability. You will also learn about circular color and how to create sustainable fashion using industrial, food, and textile waste. Very much like this brand is doing in Japan, Food Textile.

Here is to taking initiative, together.

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