3.Sweatshops by wanghonghx


									                                                               The designer clothing that’s

 Paid $35 to make
                                                                              By ROSIE SQUIRES

                                                                      LEADING designer clothes sold in
                                                                      stores for up to $600 are being made
                                                                      for as little as $35 by an underpaid
                                                                      army of migrant workers in western
                                                                      Sydney garages and apartments.
                                                                        An investigation into Sydney’s
                                                                      sweatshops by The Sunday Tele-
                                                                      graph has found leading fashion
                                                                      designers including Nicola Finetti,
                                                                      Natasha Gan and Ginger&Smart,
                                                                      are paying Vietnamese and Chinese
                                                                      families between $10 and $35 to
                                                                      produce clothes later sold in stores
                                                                      for at least 10 times the price.
                                                                        During a two-week investigation,
                                                                      The Sunday Telegraph visited
                                                                      13 outworker operations in Sydney
                                                                      — mostly in the west — where high-
                                                                      end fashion houses outsource the
                                                                      manufacture of their garments.
                                                                        The scene was the same in every
                                                                      home: glamorous designs being             Hard bargain: Employment terms
                                                                      sown in cluttered conditions by
                                                                      workers who said they were not paid       refused requests for photographs.
                                                                      enough and who also feared they              An invoice, supplied to The Sun-
                                                                      would lose their jobs to even cheap-      day Telegraph, reveals the family is
                                                                      er labour in China.                       paid $18 to make a black frill dress.
                                                                        The revelation prompted Deputy          It is sold in stores for $240.
                                                                      Prime Minister Julia Gillard to call         The owner refused to disclose how
                                                                      on Australian fashion designers to        much of the $18 he paid to his
                                                                      take responsibility for where their       employees. A notice at one opera-
                                                                      garments were made and ensure             tion warned employees not to talk
                                                                      fair pay. Instead, Ginger&Smart           while they worked and gave them 50
                                                                      promptly cancelled its contract with      minutes off in a nine-hour day.
                                                                      a factory after learning of The              The union estimates about 70 per
                                                                      Sunday Telegraph’s visit accompa-         cent of retail clothing outworkers in
                                                                      nied by officials of the Textile,         Sydney are Vietnamese and 30 per
                                                                      Clothing and Footwear Union.              cent are Chinese.
                                                                        In the garage of a fibro house in          Amity Lynch, campaign co-
                                                                      Birrong, we found two women in            ordinator of FairWear Australia,
                                                                      their late fifties sewing a next-season   said she’d worked with many out-
                                                                      Nicola Finetti waistcoat. The women,      workers, and fashion houses often
                                                                      working for a registered company,         neglected to pay their makers at all.
                                                                      Dunlong Fashions, said they were             Steve Davies, the assistant secre-
                                                                      paid $16 to make each waistcoat.          tary of The Textile, Clothing and
                                                                        A design sheet showed the garment       Footwear Union of Australia, said
                                                                      was part of Finetti’s 2010 Autumn/        the conditions in sweatshops
                                                                      Winter collection. While the waist-       around Sydney were appalling.
                                                                      coats were not in stores yet, Finetti        However, he said he was pleased
                                                                      sold similar designs for around $300.     Australian designers were produc-
                                                                        Dunlong Fashions owner Tran             ing garments onshore at a time
   Garage sales: (From                                                Long, 58, said he no longer wanted to     when many companies were send-
   top) Designer Nicola                                               be involved in the industry.              ing their work to factories overseas.
   Finetti’s waistcoat was                                              ‘‘It’s normal to be paid just 5 per        Recently, Bonds, Willow and
                                                                      cent of the selling price,’’ he said.     Fleur Wood have taken their manu-
   made at this humble                                                  ‘‘Finetti gives us $16 for a piece      facturing business to Asia.
   address in Birrong;                                                and the reason we are still hanging          ‘‘We want the work to stay in
   the unglamorous                                                    around is because we have nothing         Australia but we want the workers
   reality of Chipping                                                else to do.’’                             to be treated properly,’’ Mr Davies
   Norton Fashions; the                                                 A red-brick house in Chipping Nor-      said. ‘‘If they are working in a house
   make sheet for the                                                 ton is home to Chipping Norton            they are deemed by the law to be
   Natasha Gan dress                                                  Fashions, where elderly couple Louis      outworkers who are casual employ-
   adorning this model                                                Van Le and his wife are sewing            ees, which means they deserve $21
   reveals outworkers                                                 garments for Moss&Spy. When we            an hour and casual benefits.’’
   were paid $18 for                                                  arrived, the couple were frantically         Mr Davies said the ‘‘majority of
   making it; inside                                                  working on a beige satin wrap-around      the clothing made in Australia is
   Dunlong Fashion,                                                   blouse on sewing machines in their        made by outworkers’’. The TCFUA
   where Nicola Finetti’s                                             garage. Each garment takes them           estimates there are more than 300
   visions are realised                                               two hours to produce.                     garage manufacturers in Sydney.
                                                                        Mr Van Le said he is paid $20 for          ‘‘The fashion houses can afford to
   Pictures:                                                          each completed blouse. The same           pay manufacturers more . . . this is
   Ella Pellegrini                                                    blouse retails for $206.                  just greed,’’ John Owen, another
                                                                        Lia Tsimos, designer of Moss&S-         TCFUA official, said.
                                                                      py, blamed the retailers.                    Mr Finetti said the waistcoat
                                                                        ‘‘The garment makes $206 retail         made in Birrong was a sample and
                                                                      but we are actually selling it for $89    the garment prices negotiable.
                                                                      wholesale,’’ she said.                       ‘‘He must come back to us and see
                                                                        ‘‘As a wholesaler we are selling to     if it is correct or how long will it take
                                                                      retailers who then put the price up.      to be made. Do you think it’s my
                                                                      We are struggling with wages and          problem? It is not my responsibility.’’
                                                                      struggling trying to keep our pro-           Ginger&Smart director Marie-
                                                                      duction in Australia.’’                   Claude Mallat said the label ‘‘regu-
                                                                        At an operation run out of a            larly visits its contractors’ premises
                                                                      family home in Punchbowl, out-            and is very happy to work with the
                                                                      workers were producing Natasha            unions if they have an issue with
                                                                      Gan dresses. Racks of freshly             any particular contractor.
                                                                      pressed clothing were hanging in             ‘‘The retail price of this garment
                                                                      the driveway and the clatter of           has nothing to do with the price we
                                                                      sewing machines could be heard.           provide our contractors.’’
                                                                        The outworkers, registered under           Natasha Gan did not return The
                                                                      the name Quang Trang Fashions,            Sunday Telegraph’s calls.

                                                                                                                  See more amazing
                                                                                                                   pictures online

                                                                                                                     Editorial – Page 41
6 August 23, 2009 THE SUNDAY TELEGRAPH www.sundaytelegraph.com.au                                                                                   1F
being knocked out in a garage sweatshop near you

a $600 dress                                                                                                                                                     A fair
                                                                                                                                                                is their
                                                                                                                                                                WHILE I was a lawyer, I
                                                                                                                                                                met many outworkers and
                                                                                                                                                                in particular, I assisted
                                                                                                                                                                clothing trade outworkers.
                                                                                                                                                                   Usually, they were
                                                                                                                                                                migrant women who did
                                                                                                                                                                not speak good English.
                                                                                                                                                                Often they had been
                                                                                                                                                                severely exploited.
                                                                                                                                                                Working at home on piece
                                                                                                                                                                rate they found it hard to
                                                                                                                                                                make even $3 or $4 an
                                                                                                                                                                hour. There was no
                                                                                                                                                                holiday pay or sick pay. If
                                                                                                                                                                they did not work, then
                                                                                                                                                                there was nothing.
                                                                                                                                                                   Unfortunately, they
                                                                                                                                                                were often intimidated
                                                                                                                                                                from complaining about
                                                                                                                                                                their dreadful working
                                                                                                                                                                conditions because they
                                                                                       $35                     0
                                                                                                        $58                                                     were told if they
                                                                                                                                                                complained they would
                                                                                     TO MAKE           TO BUY                                                   not get any more work.
                                                                                                                                                                   From the evidence that
                                                                                                                                                                has been given to various
                                                                                                                                                                parliamentary committees,
                                                                                                                                                                it does not seem things
                                                                                                                                                                have got better. Indeed,
                                                                                                                                                                many say conditions for
                                                                                                                                                                outworkers have worsened
                                                                                                                                                                over recent years.
                                         6         $20
                                  $20                                                                                                            The real
                                                                                                                                                 cost of
                                                                                                                                                                   Australians do not like
                                                                                                                                                                to see people ripped off
                                                                                                                                                 fashion:       and exploited.
                                 TO BUY         TO MAKE                                                                                          (Clockwise        Everyone in the
                                                                                                                                                 from left)     contracting chain in the
                                                                                                                                                 the makers     fashion industry has some
                                                                                                                                                 of this        responsibility to help
                                                                                                                                                                ensure fair treatment of
                                                                                                                                                 Moss &         their fellow Australians.
                                                                                                                                                 Spy tie top       Designers and fashion
                                                                                                                                                 were paid      houses can lead the way by
                                                                                                                                                 $20 — it       taking responsibility for
                                                                                                                                                 sells for      where their garments are
                                                                                                                                                 more than      being made and ensuring
                                                                                                                                                 10 times       transparency throughout
                                                                                                                                                 that;          the supply chain, so it can
                                                                                                                                                 workers        be verified that
                                                                                                                                                 were paid      appropriate pay rates and
                                                                                                                                                 $37 for a      entitlements are in place.
                                                                                                                                                 Ginger &          The Homeworkers’ Code
                                                                                                                                                 Smart          of Practice, to which the
                                                                                                                                                 dress that     Government has
                                                                                                                                                 is priced at   committed support,
                                                                                                                                                                provides designers and
                                                                                                                                                 $580 in the    fashion houses with a
                                                                                                                                                 boutique       mechanism to do this and
                                                                                                                                                                help ensure that the
                                                                                                                                                                various businesses in
                                                                                                                                                                their supply chain are
                                                                                                                                                                meeting their various
                                                                                                                                                                legal obligations.
                                                                                                                                                                   Through its labelling
                                                                                                                                                                system the Code also

From cutting board to catwalk
                                                                                                                                                                provides consumers with a
                                                                                                                                                                way to identify garments
                                                                                                                                                                that were ethically made
                                                                                                                                                                in Australia.
                                                                                                                                                                   As a nation, Australia is
       By ROSIE SQUIRES                the designer sends the fabric off       milla Franks, whose wares are                                                    not aiming for a race to the
                                       to a cutter factory, where the          made overseas, said the recom-                                                   bottom in wages and
FROM cutting board to catwalk, a       material is cut into to the shape of    mended retail price in Australia                                                 conditions. We can and
garment has a long journey             the garment.                            was generally double the wholesale                                               should compete with the
before it hits the rack in a depart-     The fabric is then sent to one of     price plus 10 per cent GST.                                                      rest of the world on the
ment store or boutique.                about 300 garage manufacturers                                                                                           quality of our work. Many
                                                                                 She explained retail mark-ups
  At a fashion house, the design       and outworkers in NSW, who sew          were in place to cover the retailers                                             outworkers are very
starts on pieces of paper before       the fabric together.                    business costs.                                                                  highly skilled and making
being transferred to the com-            Once the copies of the garment                                                                                         high end fashion
puter to finalise measurements         are complete, they are tagged,            ‘‘Retailers buy at a wholesale                                                 garments which sell for
and make a pattern.                    ironed and hung.                        rate, and will put their margins in                                              expensive prices. Their
  While the pattern is perfected,        Many are sent to specialist           to pay staff, invest in marketing or                                             labour should be properly
the designer must source fabrics       pressing factories for the ironing      PR and to pay themselves,’’ she                                                  recognised and rewarded.’
and accessories for the piece,         and tagging process.                    said. ‘‘Remember they have to
either locally or from overseas.         The garment is transported            make their profit off it too — they                                              Julia Gillard is Deputy Prime
  Next the design team crafts the      back to the fashion house or            are a business.                                                                  Minister and Minister for
prototype of the garment which         straight to the retailer.                 ‘‘The mark up is high because                                                  Employment and Workplace
will inevitably be tried and tested      The designer sells the garment        sometimes only half of the order                                                 Relations, Education and
until the designer is satisfied.       to the retailer at a wholesale price.   will sell, which is a risk the retailers                                         Social Inclusion
  Once the sample is completed           Colourful Kaftan designer Ca-         have to take.’’                            Cost: A sweatshop sewing machine
                                                                                                                      www.sundaytelegraph.com.au THE SUNDAY TELEGRAPH August 23, 2009 7

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