The collapse of a garment factory last month in Bangladesh has put a spotlight on how workers that produce clothing for Western retailers are treated. It’s prompted the government there to raise the pay for those employees. As WYSO's Emily McCord reports, consumers in the US may be starting to pay attention as well.
It's hard to find a shirt that isn't manufactured overseas. 97% of all apparel in the US is imported. But one Darke County business is doing all of its production domestically. All American Clothing Company is banking on the idea that consumers will continue to support clothing made here. Spokesman Logan Beam says since the tragedies in Bangladesh, there’s been more interest in American-made clothing. Traffic to their web site has been up 20 percent in the last month. Beam says consumers are starting to become more aware of how their clothes are made.
"Sometimes it takes a big event to realize how things are going," says Beam. "For us, our growth really started when the economy was doing so poorly during the recession, and unemployment rates were skyrocketing and things were getting bad here in the United States for a while. People started to realize we gotta do something."
Beam says it can cost anywhere from three to five times more to manufacture appeal in the US verses overseas. He says one way the company remains profitable is because upper management employees there make lower wages than their competitors. He maintains that with more awareness growing over factory conditions, plus higher shipping costs and quality issues, more companies are bringing their work back home.