Notes From a Garment Factory

Roo Hsing Garment Factory

The following are excerpts from my notes from my visit to Roo Hsing Garment Factory:
“My boss says that he would like to dry your pants.”

“Sure, that’d be great.”

A phone call is made and someone whooshes in and off my jeans go

We walk down the line starting at a completed pair of Levi’s. Some 85 people have a hand in sewing one pair of blue jeans. That doesn’t count the people who cut the fabric, wash the jeans, make the pockets, or ship.

It’s seeing a pair of jeans being disassembled in 85 parts.

The famous Levi’s gold thread spirals from the top of the sewing machines and into the blue jeans in short spurts.

The girls, and they are mainly girls, not guys and not women, rarely lookup from their work to check us out. When your boss is looking over your shoulder, it’s a good idea to double your efforts and your output.

In this room, women take completed, near flawless pairs of pants and fray the edges of the pockets and cuffs with a grinder. I guess I never thought that this was actually someone’s job – a single person on a single pair of pants. Someone that has a name and a family flawed the jeans because the people in other countries (Levi’s aren’t sold in Cambodia) would buy them because they thought they were cool.

The legs of the jeans flop in the sandstorm. These are sand-washed jeans and this is the sand-washing guy.

Are breathing these chemicals harmful? Who am I to say. You just have to have faith that the excellent monitoring system in place in Cambodia ensures that areas like this are relatively safe and healthy working environments. In fact, in the logbook I signed a member of the ILO (International Labor Organization) had signed in earlier that day. The industry has historically (on a global level) such a bad reputation that many people hear “garment industry” and they think the worst, when in fact, because of this reputation, a lot has changed. Workers in other industries would be lucky to have some of the conditions in the garment industry.

A voice comes over the speaker and the rows and rows of workers step from their machines, putting a halt to the machine gun firing needles. Club music pounds a rhythm in the background over the cracking speakers. The voice directs the stretching.

One machine is responsible for sewing the Levi’s back pocket design. It cost $20,000. A woman loads it with a pattern and some denim and presses a button. The design is on in less than 2 seconds.

They return my jeans, dry and stainless. I’ve never had a cleaner pair.


Look like very nice . i feel you Kelsey .

Olivier formisano says:

Hello i just this comment and it seems really interesting , i am looking for a jean factory in Cambodia ? Any help i can get would be most apreciated

Ollie !

Let your voice be heard!