Buy Sweat-free Apparel and other Items
Where to Buy
These two shopping guides, Sweatfree Communities’ Shop with a Conscience Consumer Guide and CoopAmerica’s National Green Pages, identify hundreds of companies that sell sweat-free and green items. Please find and buy items that have been produced under fair, sweat-free conditions and in ways that care for our environment.
Apparel is a special problem. Roughly two million apparel workers located in 150 nations make products for American retailers. Some 80% of these workers are employed in sweatshops, working under conditions that systematically violate international or local labor laws. Just three cents of every dollar spent on apparel by consumers in the U.S. goes to pay the workers who make the clothes. So even if workers’ wages doubled, and if this cost increase was entirely passed along to consumers, the price of a $10 item would rise by just 30 cents and a $100 item would become $103. This is a small price to pay to ensure a decent life for those who make the things we buy.
There is an alternative to apparel produced in sweatshops. Consumers can use their buying power to send an anti-sweatshop message. We can buy clothing, including sweat-free t-shirts and other items, from sweat-free vendors (see above). Prices are often similar to those of sweatshop-produced goods.
One source for t-shirts is Nueva Vida, a Nicaraguan women’s sewing cooperative. Purchases can be made through a program established by the Presbyterian Church (USA).
|Members of the Nueva Vida, Nicaragua, sewing cooperative
Additional information on sweatshop conditions around the world is available from:
International Labor Rights Forum
National Labor Committee
United Students Against Sweatshops