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Exploitative Labor In a First World County

Los Angeles County is also a top domestic manufacturer of textile goods. Home to over 1200 fashion brands, the county boasts the largest concentration of textile manufacturing plants in the United States. In 2019, Fashion Nova, a LA based fashion brand was exposed for utilizing sweatshop manufacturers to produce its clothing. Workers were employed 7 days and paid the equivalent of $4.66 an hour. Pennies worth-for their labor.

“[Fashion] Consumers can say, ‘Well, of course that’s what it’s like in Bangladesh or Vietnam,’ but they are developing countries... People just don’t want to believe it’s true [that exploitative labor is happening] in their own backyard." - New York Times

But the working conditions can be far from ideal in a first world country. The Garment Worker Center reports that many manufacturers and fashion industry giants subcontract illegal sweatshops for production. In favor of cutting production costs, much of LA's fashion industry has enabled the rise of unsustainable, illegal labor practices in the United States.

Los Angeles County might pride itself in being a fashion hub in terms of consumption and production, but worker comforts and sustainable production processes are not always their priority. Much of Los Angeles's fashion industry is built upon unsustainable production processes. As the industry continues to grow, hopefully some organizations may come to understand the value of investing more into their workers.


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