Where are my clothes manufactured? China? Part 2

Earlier, I listed the countries where the clothes in my closet were made. I just took them out, went through them and logged them in a spreadsheet. Weird? Yes, but after reading The World is Flat, and hearing daily about how China manufactures everything now from Toys (with lead) to Clothing (with low wage workers) to Cat Food (with rat poison) makes me curious about what I have bought, because like we found out when companies used to advertise “made in america” people don’t look at where things are made when they are shopping or buying. When the leading factor for deciding what to buy is always price, people only look at what they are getting and the price. Never the country where it was made. (unless you are my mother, she really does look at where things are made, just to exclaim that everything is cheap crap these days)

So, I also wanted to post where stores I had bought clothing items at produced those pieces. Just to balance out the data and give more insight into what we buy. Admittedly I just shop at certain stores, and this is only a list of clothing that I currently wear, so a lot of stuff I no longer fit into isn’t on this list and a lot of winter stuff isn’t also. It is also a list of things primarily from the past 2 years. There are assorted items from 3, 4 or 5 years ago, but most is from 2005 – 2007.

Ann Taylor Loft: China, Hong Kong, Indonesia (2), Siapan (usa), Vietnam
Anthropologie: Taiwan, USA, India
GAP: Hong Kong (3), Phillipines
H&M: Bangladesh, Bulgaria, Hong Kong, India, Turkey
J Crew: USA, China, Hong Kong (2), Hungary, Malaysia, Turkey
Kohl’s: USA, India
Marshall Fields (now Macy’s):England, Honduras
Nordstrom: India, China, USA, Hong Kong, Mexico (all these items were $50-100 dollars)
Old Navy: Cambodia (2), China (3), Colombia, El Salvador (3), Indonesia, Mexico, Moldova, Peru, Phillippines (2), Turkey, Vietnam (everything from Old Navy was under $30, hello $8 T-Shirts)
Target Cherokee: Bahrain
Target Merona: China (2), Guatemala, UK
Target Mossimo: Guatemala (3), Vietnam
Victoria’s Secret: Mexico 

A few questions may come to mind after seeing these lists:

Who counts all their clothes like this? Apparently someone who wants answers.

You shop discount stores but not WalMart? Yep, long before they got bad press for mistreating workers and offshoring US manufacturing, I always thought they just offered the cheapest stuff there was. I’m ok with nice looking but cheap and limited quality as a result, but not cheapest. That’s just junk.

What does all this mean? I am not sure, but it looks like what is happening in China is really just a function of what is happening all over the world. And I predict that in 25 years there won’t be a cheap place to produce goods that hasn’t had economic development and has low wage workers. We will have developed it all, sold them cheeseburgers and shown them that you are not successful until you own a gas/oil burning car and they all buy them too. Hiring workers will be a lot more expensive everywhere and resources will be a lot more scarce. So we better get our fill of cheap stuff now. Because it is temporary.

7 thoughts on “Where are my clothes manufactured? China? Part 2

  1. The price you pay is almost irrelevant of where it is made, what is more relevant is the logo displayed on the product. The canadian version of victoria’s secrets, La Senza makes similar and comparable undergarments at labor costs of $8.30(this is the least you can make by law. You can buy domestic products that will cost the same or far less than products made in poor labour condition countries.
    Don’t let corporations brainwash you into thinking that cheap labour means cheap products for you. companies seek cheap labour in order to put more money in their pockets, not yours. Brand name shoes such nike will always cost many times more than domestic no name products even though they cost nothing to produce. The other difference is that in most countries where labour is cheap,so is quality of life. Some parents can’t put food on the table making 3 pennies a day in vietnam so children have work. In mexico women make $5 day making products such as victoria’s secret that women in canada make $8.30 an hour and the end result is a comparable product that costs less than the big name brand. The other difference, in mexico women are offered no protection against rapists, gangs,they are shuttle in remote parts of the desert by their employer and left to walk miles in the middle of the night. over 2000 women have been raped and slaughter in guatamala and juarez mexico as a result of bad government and corporate greed. Don’t believe me look it up on youtube, look it up on amnesty international. And for every poor labour country there are similar bad things associated such as child labour, exploitation, slavery etc. and the end result is something that is not even cheaper for you.

    • Thank you for being someone else besides me who gives a hoot about this kind of stuff. I was just in Urabn Outfitters,, I didn’t even go in,, just asked the guy guarding the door if anything in the store was made in the US,, and he said,, I doubt it, So I walked out. Lots of young people were shopping there,, don’t care where things are made. Went to Target yesterday,, and I haven’t “shopped in over a decade,,,I bought stuff mostly in Salvation Army,, Good Will for a looong time. Needed pants,, non jeans,, and Nothing in Target was made in the US! Mossimo,, Merona,, Converse,, Hate to admit I ended up buying 2 pair! I can’t fight it! We asked the manager of Target,, why isn’t anything made in the US? Cheap Labor ,, was his basic answer. in other words,, Why buy the cow,, when you can get the milk for Free!

  2. Hello,

    I came across your blog in a Google search to find out more about the private labels who manufacture the clothes I’ve purchased from Target. I am researching the brands for a term paper. In your research, have you come across anything that indicates more about these private labels and what exactly happens in places as disperse as Guatemala.

    Thanks, and have a fine day!
    -Jamie

  3. I am just like your mom, I always check country of manufacture.

    I am a student animation and making a grafic movie about this, I am still in the process of finding solid information, if you know any good sites or articels from books concerning this theme, please send them to me, note only solid info please, thanks fot the article.

  4. I have found it very interesting that China is blamed for producing cheap quality to us, but when we analyze this very closely, it’s not China at all. It’s America. These are American companies, manufacturing IN China. Hmmm. Therefore, it’s greedy American companies to blame for producing cheap quality and then blaming another country. When something is a product of China, it says “product of China”. When it’s something “made in China”, this could mean anything. But to date, my research keeps revealing – greedy American companies selling cheap, disguised in the name of China. So next time it says “made in China” look and see if it’s an American Company or a Chinese company. Oh and something else interesting. In the movie Karate Kid 3, the mother has to move to China to keep her job, because the American car company she worked for, which is never mentioned, has closed in Detroit and reopened in China. So here’s a kunundrum – An American company with American workers, selling a car “made in China”. Will these be cheap cars, and were they made cheap by the Chinese or Americans? Thought for Today!

  5. The book “Everyday Justice” by Julie Clawson is a good resource. She has a whole chapter on Clothing and Manufacturing and how labour laws are not put into place by companies using off shore labour. Also check out the website : http://www.storyofstuff.com/

    Open your eyes!! North Americans are living a rich life with a heavy price that is paid by the rest of the world. Our greatest weapon is “CHOICE” and we need to use it.

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