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T shirt price comparison:
>£00.99 Used T shirts @ charity shops rare; prices random.
>£01.66 £5 for 3 childrens' VAT-exempt shirts in M&S. Small wholesale prices begin about here.
>£02.50 Value T shirts @ largest supermarket sites or Primark. I am wearing a Primark value T shirt as I type this and have to say that it is a good value T shirt. If the only ethic was fairness to the consumer, Primark basic T shirts would be the ultimate ethical T shirt. On the other hand it doesn't have the feel-good qualities that some people pay extra for.
>£06.00 M&S plain Blue Harbour T shirt (most are £12)
=£10.00 this thermal T shirt £10 made in the UK including UK postage
=£10.00 Primark upmarket thermal T shirts (reduced in child sizes; postage not included).
<£12.00 Advertised brands at full price,
<£12.00 Organic T shirts - some go up to £14 or more. A lot are from Continental made in Turkey.
<£12.00 Fairtrade T shirts,
<£12.00 Screen-printed shirts at Primark or M&S; cheapest shirt at ASOS (most £14+)
<£19.99 Logo-branded T shirt at an inner-city sportswear shop (£54.99 for a hoodie)
You will see the hoodie, which is not for sale on this site, in two photos on this page; advertising to marginal people seems to get more reward and more cross wannabes than advertising M&S to the mainstream. It's similar with shy girls who hope the latest fashion will get them noticed, or dodgy folk like me who would need the right clothes to get into a northern nightclub.
|The ultimate ethical T shirt - one way to compare||Riotstopper||Advertised Brand||Value clothing||Fairtrade example|
|Wages||UK minimum wage or more; less for interns but these are rare in down-to-earth trades.||Not often known. The larger factories are very regimented but provide clearer info.||Not often known. The larger factories are very regimented but provide clearer info.||3rd world min wage + premium divided by democratic vote.|
|Riotstarting or Riotsopping||
are paid at more stages of the supply chain to an economy which
needs to rebalance. Sustains jobs in a vanishing industry &
potentially allows jobs to be created. People who are good at
technical jobs can do well - not all the jobs require a good
education and people who are good at them often did badly at
One example is Rosebank Slippers, which employed people just north of Manchester until the receiver closed them and scrapped the machines at the end of 2011. They sold wholesale for £5 compared to trainers at £50.
Buys cheaply, sells expensively behind very good well-lit displays in every high street showing the unemployed what they can't afford: a good way to provoke a riot.
The margin goes on advertising to the same unemployed people to suggest that branded goods are the norm. A recent UK government report calls this wealth creation.
Advertised brands distract attention from the neighbourly habit of buying local products in the part of the world where you live: if Nike and Adidas are more cool; Rosebank slippers sell less..
Clothes people on all incomes. The only catch is that if you are only able to afford value brands, you become self- conscious and want to buy an adidas hoodie to go with them.
Benefits to workers can happen because of a trickle-down effect leading for demand for education & development. Or not. Without condoms, pensions & education, population will tend to keep increasing and workers will remain poor. No tariff system exists to encourage trade with countries that have pensions or secondary schools, or even democracy.
Reduces problems in a list of countries that the fair trade foundation called 3rd world decades ago - some of them now boasting space programs but without universal
Overpopulation is normal in such countries, as in Victorian Britain, because women have less power & large families help look after parents in old age. Fairtrade does not address this problem as a system of tariffs against bad governments would do.
|Security of factory work||
UK employment law applies but is easy to get-around. Declining interest in UK-made goods from customers is the main problem with factories closing or working short-time.
In part this is a result of a conventional wisdom that manufacturing does not matter, for example in the selection process for London Fashion Week. The success of advertised brands alongside fairtrade and organic clothing also distracts from the benefits of UK-made goods.
Workers are free to join a union. Community is an unusually good one but other unions's standard of help is not reported and the large ones use no-win no-fee lawyers on commission.
Not always known. There is probably a corporate social responsibility statement. Some UK companies have joined ethicaltrade.org to co-ordinate the kinds of claims they make.
Taxpayers subsidise this through a Foreign Office but are not allowed to see the detail.
|Not always known. Larger shops will have a corporate social responsibility statement, but it's hard for them to know where the clothing comes from. The most organised buyers have quality inspectors but only for quality of shirt, not life.||
Freedom to join a union. Presumably some countries have unions
as bad as the ones in the UK.
Freedom to vote on how the fair trade premium is spent - for example on health insurance, plumbing or a teacher.
|Housing||Difficult, but stable employment pays for somewhere. Housing benefit and other benefits are available otherwise.||Some large employers provide barracks. Some smaller employers ones let workers sleep in the workshop overnight. At best the wage pays for reasonable housing in the area||
"The factory site includes a housing colony for over
1800 workers with parks"
|Health||NHS for life, including people who's work status doesn't allow them the benefits above. Bad geriatric services.||Charity hospitals, family back-up to pay private.||Charity hospitals, family back-up to pay private.||"four bed hospital for staff" [presumably not for future or ex-staff]|
|Education||UK universal schooling to secondary level; part-subsidised further education. Technical colleges like London College of Fashion do not let clothing workers use the library!||
A few countries in which cheap clothes are made have free secondary schools as well.
|"subsidised school" [presumably for children of current staff only]|
|Certification||Not usually needed as rights outside the factory gate just are; they are the same as the rights of people who buy the T shirt. There are rare cases of fast fashion suppliers to Next or Primark being worse employers than is legal, but the NHS benefits and schooling for staff remain.||
Democracy, universal benefits, human rights. No. Conventional
wisdom from those paid to certify and those who pay them; those
who commission PR and journalists who report it is that only
life in the factory is worth reporting and not life outside.As
for life inside the factory,UK - Amnesty
International cannot work in China so how can a whistle blower?
The Foreign and Commonwealth office subsidises a trade association for companies with a corporate responsibility statement. Resources are not available to taxpayers.
|Expensive but possible for a few clothing factories because their products sell at a premium. More common for food & commodities than made-up clothing.|
|Durability||The yarn is finer than cotton - about 10 denier - and sometimes puckers a little when tumble dried. It's softer against the skin than the grades of cotton used for T shirts, but a bit unfamiliar - more like underwear.||Factory inspectors are good at keeping the cut and detail good. Fabrics are probably 250g /m2 or 260.||If there is any way of reducing the seam allowance or the thickness of material to save money, it will be done so the T shirts might only last a year or so. Given the price, that isn't a problem for most buyers but tends to cost in landfill. Thin clothes are also harder to recycle.||Often made on similar equipment to quality brands.|
Government report says about £3m a year subsidy for London Fashion Week out of regional development money, which is meant to help people like the 2011 England Rioters:
[...] we are able to approximate the amount that fashion retailers, fashion wholesalers and fashion manufacturers spend on advertising and PR (for more detailed information regarding the methodology and data sources see Appendix B). Overall, we estimate that fashion advertising and related activities create an extra £241 million of GVA. Of this, £184 million is related to the promotion of clothing and footwear, with the remaining £57 million linked to other products. Chart 3.6 summarises the breakdown of the results by product."
"So you're blaming the riots on the marketing department of Footlocker for what happened in London?"
"That's the way this whole... this whole country works: you know what I mean? It works on a madness." [evidence above]
Made in UK - Amnesty - Human Rights Watch - EthicalTradeorg #U -
International currency conversion
Riotstopper T shirt