Dov Charney on SNL

Dov Charney in manties

Anyone that would pose for this photo is an easy target for Saturday Night Live. Fred Armisen recently portrayed American Apparel CEO, Dov Charney, clad in green manties (man panties).

American Apparel just announced the creation of 2,500 jobs. That’s quite a feat on it’s own in this economy, but in the garment industry it is unheard of.

I mention American Apparel in WAIW? as an option for engaged consumers to consider. I also mention that Charney is quite a controversial figure. This poses an ethical conundrum for engaged consumers who are disgusted by Charney’s shenanigans. Beth Myers, Executive Director, of STITCH is wrestling with her decision to support American Apparel. She writes about it…

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In defense of Sweatshops

Benjamin Powell, Assistant Professor of Economics at Suffolk University, is coming to the defense of sweatshops. In this article he makes several arguments:

– we need to look at jobs in the garment industry in the context of their countries’ economies
– Fighting for workers’ rights alone will lead to the unemployment of workers
– Workers’ rights can only improve if worker efficiency and productivity improves

Here’s an excerpt:

Should Kathy Lee have cried? Her Honduran workers earned 31 cents per day. At 10 hours per day, which is not uncommon in a sweatshop, a worker would earn $3.10. Yet nearly a quarter of Hondurans earn less than $1 per day and nearly half earn less than $2 per day.
Wendy Diaz’s message should have been, “Don’t cry for me, Kathy Lee. Cry…

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LA Garment manufacturers fail to comply with labor laws

The Made in USA label doesn’t always mean made under fair and legal labor conditions.

From Occupational Safety and Health Online:

The Labor and Workforce Development Agency announced that Economic Employment Enforcement Coalition (EEEC) investigators issued 42 citations for labor law violations with fines totaling $457,000 in a recent sweep of 22 garment manufacturers in Los Angeles and Orange counties. The coalition said its enforcement actions uncovered serious violations in the industry that included failure to register, pay the minimum wage, maintain worker’s comp insurance, pay overtime, provide itemized deductions to employees, and keep records and post labor notices as mandated by law. In addition, clothing was confiscated at six locations.

“Many of these garment manufacturers failed to comply with the law as we found multiple labor law violations at many…

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What kind of consumer are you?

I’m working on the books conclusion and thought I would share a bit on types of consumers. Actually, my intentions are selfish. I wanted to see if anyone else had any types of consumers they would add to the list. Let me know if you have any ideas or if the below passage rubs you one way or the other.

Are we bargain hunters that follow our pocketbooks more than our conscience? If so, we don’t care where or who made our clothes as long as we get a good deal. But some of us don’t have a choice. If we want to clothe and feed our families, we can’t afford to be anything else but bargain hunters. As much as we would like to…

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One Wedding, One Honeymoon, One pair of shorts

Saturday Annie and I tie the knot in my parents’ backyard in front of 300 family and friends.

On Sunday the quest/honeymoon continues. It’s kind of like the two threads of my life will be pulled together. There’s the travel-around-the-globe-chasing-my-clothes thread and there’s the Annie-girlfriend-fiance-wife thread.

First we’re heading to Put-in-Bay, the Key West of the North, and then we’re off to Perry, New York, home of the Grand Canyon of the East. (You always have to question the legitimacy of a destination when the locals sell it as a more accessible, less touristy version of an actual destination.) And then were off to Niagara Falls, which I like to refer to as the Victoria Falls of North America.

Perry is where my all-time favorite item of…

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Will Mobile Phones Prevent the Next Rana Plaza Disaster

(Arifa, a single mother of three children, and a garment worker I met while traveling in Bangladesh)

One moment Reshma Begum was sewing. The next she was falling from her station on the second floor into the basement of the Rana Plaza garment factory in Savar, Bangladesh.

She lost consciousness. She awoke to cries of help that gradually silenced. Her clothes were shredded, everything was dark, and her hair was stuck in the rubble. She ripped her hair free and scavenged the dark crevices on her hands and knees finding four crackers, a small bottle of water, and the occasional puddle to quench her thirst. She probed her surroundings with a pipe for pockets of air.

This was her life. This…

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Walmart, 112 Dead Bangaldeshis, And You


(My friends at the Fantasy Kingdom amusement park located near the site of the factory that burned on Sunday in Ashulia, Bangladesh, killing 112 workers.)

They stood at the windows of the building, 100-feet above the ground, skin boiling. Fire behind and nothing ahead.

There was no choice.

Was it more courageous to stay and burn or to jump? It takes about two-and-a-half seconds for a person to fall 100 feet. That’s two-and-a-half seconds of air cooling enflamed skin, two-and-a-half-seconds of relief before the end.

One of the advantages — and there are few — of jumping was that your family could identify your body. Eight workers jumped. Workers on the ground thought they were bails of clothing being thrown out the windows,…

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Women helping migrants like Amilcar

Central American migrants ride atop trains to make a better life for their families in the United States. In some places, the locals are sick of the migrants and throw rocks at them, in others they throw bread. The women in this video are throwing bread and they rock.

So thankful people like this helped my friend Amilcar on his three month journey.

(Thanks to Rachel Taber of Alta Gracia for pointing me to this)…

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Kelsey's Closet: Alta Gracia

To celebrate the release of the new updated and revised edition of Where Am I Wearing? I’m celebrating apparel companies that are making a difference by conducting two weeks of giveaways. Each day I’ll highlight a company and then giveaway an item of theirs at 9PM (ish). To enter, leave a comment in that day’s blog post or on Facebook. Winner will be randomly selected. Wanna see more clothing companies changing the world? Visit Kelsey’s Closet.

Proudly wearing my Ball State shirt made by Alta Gracia. @wearaltagracia
Rocking my Ball State Alta Gracia shirt

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Kelsey's Closet Giveaway: SustainU

To celebrate the release of the new updated and revised edition of Where Am I Wearing? I’m celebrating apparel companies that are making a difference by conducting two weeks of giveaways. Each day I’ll highlight a company and then giveaway an item of theirs at 7PM (ish). To enter, leave a comment in that day’s blog post or on Facebook. Winner will be randomly selected.

Enter a Comment below to win a SustainU Shirt

You’re T-shirt is dirty.

It’s covered in water. According to SustainU, today’s induction into Kelsey’s Closet, it takes over 40,000 liters of water to make one shirt. By 2025 two-thirds of people in our planet will live under water-stressed conditions.

It’s dirtier than steel. Between manufacturing and transportation, the average shirt…

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