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Offshore Manufacturing: what is it good for?

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it's silly to isolate clothing if you take into account all the other things schools must acquire

do you think all those products are made under acceptable conditions?

i can understand why members of this community would be primarily concerned with how a school's uniforms are manufactured, but for most individuals and institutions, the production of clothing is seen as a symptom of a much larger problem which is much harder to fix

 

with that said, i'm confused by people who care about the origins of their clothing for moral reasons yet hardly ever think about the origins of everything else they consume

 

In the context of this forum, offshore manufacturing seemed like the most pertinent issue regarding ethical acquisition and consumption, but I agree wholeheartedly that a focus on this issue to the exclusion of others would be silly.

 

We could start a thread whose concern would be ethical consumption in general (energy, food,  transport, etc.) in order to avoid derailing this thread, but it probably wouldn't belong in supershopper. Maybe superculture?

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It goes deeper then just the conditions in which your clothes, and your other non-wearable items are made

Companies move their manufacturing of goods outside of US to cut costs. People are willing to accept lower pay, the working conditions (plus the culture, Chinese people only seem to celebrate Chinese New Year in which two weeks work virtually stops)

because Americans here aren't, and regulations stifles companies ability to widen their profit margin

So why built so cheap? Because cheap will end up falling apart, and then the consumer has to buy again. Instead of having a consumer visit the store every few months at most, once every few years at minimum; companies want consumers to come in every few weeks

How is it that fashion used to be two seasons and now you have pre fall, resort, in between from even the major houses..never mind the lower and bridge end, that comes & churns out new styles even faster

To have people coming back. You have to have a price point that will allow them to do so (and it doesn't hurt to promote store credit to let people buy and pay over time, this itself is another long winded rant for me that pretty much ends with the meltdown of 07/08)

And to make a profit off of the item despite this lower price point, taking into account overhead costs and the depreciation of profit made when it's not flying off the shelves.. (Eg the longer it sits, the more backed up shit gets, unless they mark down the item to get it off shelves)

You need the cheap manufacturing

You also need it because the federal poverty level in US for a family of four is 23,850 gross

There is a need for clothing that is cheap.

If it's built cheaply, people will have to come back and rebuy that wallet they brought a few years ago..hey, win-win for the companies pooping out said wallet

If you tell someone, they can save up to buy one pair of really well made shoes, or just buy a cheap one that looks like the well made shoes, right now, because it's within their price range. Majority of people will just buy the cheaper looking one. Some will put the nicely made one on credit and burn themselves in a few years. It is rare to find someone who will appreciate quality over quantity

To battle the manufacturing overseas craze, you need to be able to change the way people think and that is a lot harder then you think. Goes deeper then just the working conditions, paying wages overseas.

You have to look into the heart of the problem. If people here could truly afford to buy products of quality, they will. Between worrying about roof over head, food on the table, they don't really want to think too deeply in where, the items they're buying, are coming from, as long as it's reasonably priced for them.

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The "need" for cheap clothing, I would argue, is more often than not a psychological one that is reinforced by the never-ending cycle of capitalism you reference in your post. The focus on material wealth and its acquisition are well-embedded in American society and human history, and without a change in mindset (also referenced in your post) traditional new clothing will remain an indicator of a person's particular level of wealth.

 

Fashion, of course, has played around with this idea. Many brands this board celebrates are brands that subvert the expectations for what is "worth" the price. Undercover is a prime example. You are not "paying for the clothes" in the traditional sense of "paying for the clothes" when you buy a well-made cotton dress shirt. You are paying for the inclusion in a community of people who could recognize that you are both able to pay for Undercover and you chose its aesthetic over the competing aesthetics you were offered by your society, other designers, etc. To the uninformed, your financial status is unclear. You could even be mistaken for poor/destitute in the case of the scab jeans, for example.

 

If the traditional indicators of wealth in clothing are twisted to the point where we cannot identify a person's level of wealth by the clothing that they wear, I think that would certainly help in changing the current mindset concerning clothing. Elimination of the visual distinction we have between "white collar" and "blue collar" workers could be a first step.

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I believe places like h&m and Zara have done that, I mean, haven't fashion magazines placed ads side by side where one model is wearing all expensive wear and the other is affordable wear? Don't they incorporate expensive pieces with "steals" on editorials? So that people don't really see the price point but the "design"

You even have articles featuring pieces that look expensive, but really costs only 20 usd, and most untrained eyes won't be able to spot that/

I guess the point I'm trying to convey is that there is no simple situation, and a lot of different factors have played into why we are where we are today in terms of manufacturing

perhaps if the cash cows of today, e.g. a giant tech company, were nice enough to give back to the communities across the country by donating materials to expose the next generation to skills/knowledge that will help them not only excel in school but find good paying, fulfilling jobs once they graduate..sponsor after school programs or centers that are sorely lacking, or have ceased to exist due to budget cuts..perhaps that will start a new cycle and people can actually start to think progressively

and it'll be good PR for those companies, maybe it'll stop certain folks from picketing outside their employees' homes and such

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plus if there were more employees w/skills to work in said tech industry then maybe they can afford to not pay programmers starting salaries of 6 figures, or interns at twitter getting 18k for less then three months of internship...

because they'll have a bigger pool to draw from

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The problem is also how we view clothes. If you look at clothing as consumer goods rather than an investment you want it for cheap. People in Norway for example, they have the money, trust me.. all of them to pay 3 dollars more for each garment. If the fast fashion stores gave these 3 dollars directly to the worker that produced this garment they could actually live of their wage.

 

Only way to solve this problem is educating people and get together to force the fashion industry to better their workers conditions and promise not to outsource even though wages increase. I work for an organization in Norway that's fighting H&M for example, and we got them to publish the list of their textile manufacturers; which is the first step. Capitalist greed is hard to fight. 

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"I think, you know, the great rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel used to say indifference to evil is more insidious than evil itself. George Bernard Shaw says it in the Devil's Discipline, the early play: indifference is the essence of humanity. And my -- one of my heroes, the great man of letters in America ever, William James, said indifference is the one trait to make the very angels weep. The expansion of indifference to other people's suffering is the most dangerous phenomenon..."- Cornel West

 

Milo recently used this quote a song and it stood out to me, especially as older generations continue to comment that "my generation" doesn't care about other people in the way that theirs did. I have heard repeatedly that their generation fought for what was right, and damn the consequences. However, I don't believe that humans have changed that dramatically in how they feel about each other. Drastic cultural shifts, though, have accelerated the ability to distract ourselves by leaps and bounds.

 

The phenomenon of widespread internet access and the introduction of the smartphone "never being bored"/"always on" means that, if we want, we can choose to avoid thinking about the problems of others with remarkable success. And, honestly, I think we all have days where we would prefer that to be the case. To care, to exercise empathy, is draining and can leave you jaded quickly. With the torrents of information available as well, the possibility of knowing and caring about everything there is to know and care about is impossible.

 

That means we have to choose, just like every generation before us, what we will fight for. And these fights will not be comfortable.

 

For me, offshore production is always going to be an issue. When it comes down to it, I've cared about how I present myself and how others present themselves for a long time, and it makes me sick to see the citizens of extremely fortunate countries in the world physically clothed in the apathy that we are rightfully accused of.

 

I thank sufu for being a place where people admit that they care, and for fostering a culture of integrity. When I chose to be a bullshit person in the past, I got called on it. We can choose to be bullshit people, but that shouldn't ever slide here. You call me on my shit, I'll try to call you on yours.

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"I think, you know, the great rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel used to say indifference to evil is more insidious than evil itself. George Bernard Shaw says it in the Devil's Discipline, the early play: indifference is the essence of humanity. And my -- one of my heroes, the great man of letters in America ever, William James, said indifference is the one trait to make the very angels weep. The expansion of indifference to other people's suffering is the most dangerous phenomenon..."- Cornel West

 

Milo recently used this quote a song and it stood out to me, especially as older generations continue to comment that "my generation" doesn't care about other people in the way that theirs did. I have heard repeatedly that their generation fought for what was right, and damn the consequences. However, I don't believe that humans have changed that dramatically in how they feel about each other. Drastic cultural shifts, though, have accelerated the ability to distract ourselves by leaps and bounds.

 

The phenomenon of widespread internet access and the introduction of the smartphone "never being bored"/"always on" means that, if we want, we can choose to avoid thinking about the problems of others with remarkable success. And, honestly, I think we all have days where we would prefer that to be the case. To care, to exercise empathy, is draining and can leave you jaded quickly. With the torrents of information available as well, the possibility of knowing and caring about everything there is to know and care about is impossible.

 

That means we have to choose, just like every generation before us, what we will fight for. And these fights will not be comfortable.

 

For me, offshore production is always going to be an issue. When it comes down to it, I've cared about how I present myself and how others present themselves for a long time, and it makes me sick to see the citizens of extremely fortunate countries in the world physically clothed in the apathy that we are rightfully accused of.

 

I thank sufu for being a place where people admit that they care, and for fostering a culture of integrity. When I chose to be a bullshit person in the past, I got called on it. We can choose to be bullshit people, but that shouldn't ever slide here. You call me on my shit, I'll try to call you on yours.

 

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