These days, it is near impossible to purchase a handbag, pair of shoes or article of clothing that hasn't been made in China or India. For a while I have had mixed feelings on the subject. On one hand, it makes me sad that jobs, and skills for people in the garment industry are being fazed out here in North America, on the other hand you hear that this is creating great opportunities for people in third world countries who need the jobs. And for the general public, who doesn't love being able to buy a $15. t-shirt from time to time.
But who is this really benefiting? I have no idea. I would venture to guess that it is the massive corporations who sell us products.
The other night, after an hour of lying in bed trying to sleep, I gave in, got up and turned on the television. I happened to stumble across “Schmatta: Rags to Riches to Rags” a documentary about the decline of the garment industry in New York. Many talented workers have watched their jobs leave the country. I thought it was sad, it made me feel like I was born about 30 years to late! Is what I am doing a dying art?
I LOVE doing what I do for a living, but I have to be honest, it's impossible for me to compete with companies who have handbags made in China. I just can't make a leather handbag and sell it for under $100 and make money. From time to time, I will do a show and I hear people whisper to each other as they are looking at my product "these are too expensive". Many people don't realize (or care), that their Coach handbag that retails for just as much or more then a Cha Cha handbag, was massed produced in a factory in China and probably costs $20. to make.
- Should we care where are products are made?
- Should we care about the people who make these products we buy?
- Should we care that we might become a nation that can not make anything for themselves but relies entirely on outside sources?
- Will supporting our local designers really make a difference?
I say yes to all of these. What's your opinion?
I found these articles interesting.