A look at apparel manufacturing on the anniversary of the Bangladeshi factory disaster

Posted by mmcmullan on 04/24/2014

It’s been one year since the collapse of a Bangladeshi garment factory killed 1,127 people, the victims of a global economy that demands cheap fashion at whatever the cost. To mark the anniversary, Bob Bland, the CEO of Manufacture New York (and of whom we’re big fans), penned an opinion in Real Clear Politics. She writes:

The question now is what Americans can do to actively combat inhumane working conditions. One surprising solution is that apparel manufacturing is returning to America for the first time in a generation, thanks to increasing consumer demand. In time, re-shoring of garment production could also have ripple benefits abroad that include moving to more sustainable production practices, better wages, and safer workplace conditions as a means to compete with concerned U.S. manufacturers and a more outsourcing-wary U.S. public. 

Why is U.S. apparel manufacturing making a comeback?  In part because U.S. fashion sourcing has become accessible to a new generation through virtual maps of manufacturers, fabric/trim suppliers, printers, and more. Emerging designers have also learned that reducing financial and ecological waste in the production process is a smart, practical way to do business. Bottom line: By reducing transportation costs, eliminating international legal and customs fees, and negotiating partnerships with nearby suppliers, locally made fashion has become advantageous. 

Read the entire opinion here.

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