Clothes are one of our basic needs in life. It provides us protection from different climate changes and extreme temperature. Not only that, clothes are also something that helps us identify an individual’s culture and background. It is also something that we use to express ourselves, by different fashion statements to enhance our appearance and make it fit our personality. For companies who sell us clothes for our daily lives, they work with garment manufacturers to actually produce their product, either handmade or by the use of machinery.
These companies, of course, seek the cheapest garment manufacturers to make the most profit out of their product and materials.
There can be a lot of outsourced garment manufacturing companies available overseas. The countries that are leading the manufacturing industry are Bangladesh, China, Pakistan, India, Turkey, and Sri Lanka. These countries have the cheapest rate for manufacturing garments and that is the sole reason why clothing companies prefer to send their materials overseas to get their finalized product. But why is it that the manufacturing cost so cheap that the clothing company can afford to send their product overseas then have it sent back to them? The answer is simple; cheap labor. Because of economical reasons, the workers from countries like Bangladesh, China, India, and other countries are paid the minimum wage and in addition to that, there are actually hundreds of laborers that work for these garment manufacturing companies making the process of producing clothes efficient and faster.
Though there has been quite a stir when it comes to the safety of their laborers with regards to the job’s facility. The reason why these companies cost cheaper than your local manufacturers is that their laborers, which most of them are women, are working in an extremely dangerous environment. For these companies to be able to afford cheap labor for the manufacturing, they neglect the proper facilities for their workplace and laborers. Most of these neglect of duties are related to the safety of the workers, including fire safety drills and training, equipment needed for fire related emergencies such as fire extinguisher, fire alarms and availability of phone line to call for emergencies. The buildings that they also work on are on the verge of breaking down already; walls have huge cracks, stairs doesn’t have proper railings, and windows without glasses.
In 2015, a documentary about how fashion affects the people all around the world was released. It has discussed not only how people around the globe express their personality with fashion and the way the dress, but also the process on what happens to the materials before the actually go to their end users. This documentary called “The true cost” has also shown how workers from Bangladesh have suffered many accidents related to the condition of their workplace. This includes the 2013 incident where the Rana Plaza building collapsed, which contained more than a thousand of female laborers. It is later revealed that this is due to the fact that the building didn’t have a good foundation at all even with the owner’s knowledge and still neglected the duty of improving the quality of the workplace’s safety environment.