'Our Industry Follows Poverty': Success Threatens A T-Shirt Business




From the story:

"There is a saying that is going to sound horrible," Crystal's CEO, Luis Restrepo, told me. "Our industry follows poverty." It's an industry "on roller skates," he said, rolling from Latin America to China, to Bangladesh — wherever costs are lowest.


i guess one can't let too much trickle down :rolleyes:


I hope they consider Hati next; the people there are quite desperate for work.


The flip side of this is that, as all that money we’ve poured into economic development worldwide generates a more highly-skilled workforce to follow it and we increase wealth, we also increase costs. It’s not that the t-shirt will cease to exist, but the t-shirt as a throw-away item will go away altogether.

The flip side of this business is companies like American Apparel who source in the US, treat their workers well (at least relatively) and produce a higher-quality product for a different market. There is a difference between a $20 t-shirt that feels as comfy as your bedsheets and lasts five years or weekly wear, and a $5 t-shirt that starts like roughspun cotton and ends up 2 years later as a rag for checking your oil. The failure of the internationally-cheap t-shirt, subsidized by the poor whose local wages haven’t started to rise, enables a better industry to emerge in the US.


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