Made in America has been a big push in the fashion industry for years now, and particularly, Made in New York, for an array of emerging designers. Reports have indicated that jobs have been moving back into the U.S. after a large movement of garment production shifting overseas, likely aided by increasing awareness of the fading garment sector in the U.S., as well as of the human rights violations that often go into the manufacturing of a wide variety of mass market clothing that is sold here in the U.S. Today is, in fact, the first anniversary of the Rana Plaza tragedy in Bangladesh, which killed 1,129 workers. The building was home to several garment factories producing clothing for Mango of Spain, Benetton of Italy, British brand Primark, US brands C&A and Wal-Mart, and German brand KIK. However, according to BusinessWeek, the movement hasn’t really produced the glowing results that we have been reading about.
Conditions, as a whole, have not improved in Bangladesh. According Business Week, a New York University study held that the two main industry accords aimed at improving working conditions in Bangladesh apply to fewer than 2,000 of the country’s 5,000 to 6,000 apparel factories and facilities. “The worst conditions are largely in the factories and facilities that fall outside the scope of these agreements,” the report noted.
And things aren’t pretty domestically, either. Business Week states: “The return of the apparel makers … isn’t actually happening. As the above chart shows, employment in the U.S. apparel industry has continued to decline.” In “ New York’s apparel-making employment in March was 2 percent lower than a year ago.” Furthermore, Business Week continues with the bad news … “Apparel manufacturing—as opposed to apparel design—remains a largely low-wage sector. While some of it will always occur in the U.S., it’s hard to envision that employment in the sector as a whole will ever recover.”