To start the journey of becoming a shirt, cotton is harvested at a cotton farm like this one in America. According to,"Planet Money Makes a T-Shirt" a farm like this one produces enough cotton in a year to supply the materials for over 9 million people.
From the cotton farms, the cotton is transported to a spinning factory in Indonesia. The cotton is than spun, sucked up, laid down, straightened, pulled into long ropes in Colombia, stretched, and twisted into yarn, than the yarn is organized in giant spools and is than turned into fabric in a circular knitting machine. The fabric is than washed, dyed and shipped off to Bangladesh for the next step in the journey to becoming a t-shirt.
In Bangladesh the fabric is sowed into men's t-shirts by sweatshop workers working in dangerous, unsafe, and unhealthy working conditions for $2 a day to live off of.
The final part of the journey is when the shirt is shipped off in cargo containers to America. Where the shirt is sold and worn. But the process is more complicated than just that.
In Bangladesh the freshly made t-shirts are loaded into a cargo container, marked, and driven to a shipping yard. From there the container is put on a ship and sent to America. Where? Miami. From there the container is put on a train and driven off to the many stores your t-shirt will sit in until somebody buys it. That person is you. That person is you.
A review of working conditions in Bangladesh reveals that most factory workers are exposed to dangerous working conditions every day.
One problem in clothing factories is that factory workers are often exposed to dangerous electrical wiring, and little safety precautions. According to the article, “Fatal Fire in Bangladesh Highlights the Dangers Facing Garment Workers” experts say, “many quickly-built factories are put up without enough fire escapes. And the fear of theft has led many factory owners to put locks on the emergency exits that do exists. Bars often can be found on factory windows in the hopes of preventing thieves from getting in; but they also keep workers from getting out in an emergency.” This often proves to be dangerous as according to the “Clean Clothing Campaign,” Bangladesh’s garment industry has a notoriously poor fire safety record. Since 2006, more than 500 Bangladeshi workers have died in factory fires. For example, according to “Fatal Fire in Bangladesh Highlights the Dangers Facing Garment Workers.” Survivors of a fatal fire that occurred on November 25th, 2012 say that “while they tried to exit the building after smelling smoke, they were ordered back to their work stations. Small fires, after all, are commonplace in such factories. But when smoke began billowing into the factory, they began to flee.”
Another problem the Bangladesh clothing industry faces is that most factories do not pay workers a living wage. According to the article, “How much does it cost to live in Dhaka, Bangladesh” to live outside of Dhaka, Bangladesh, food for 3, a one room shelter and it’s utilities costs $207 American dollars or 16479.57 taka. 1 U.S dollar is equal to 79.61 Bangladesh taka. According to, “How much does it cost to live in Bangladesh,” experts say that the cost of living per month is almost 4x the wage that most garment factories pay, which was $68 a month in 2013. The article, “Planet Money makes a T-shirt” Two sisters, Minu and Shimu, both live in a small 1 room apartment in Bangladesh with Minu’s husband. They all work in the garment industry and are paid the minimum wage.
One problem that led to the biggest accident with the most casualties in the Bangladesh garment industry was in Rana Plaza, which was caused by the horrible conditions most garment factory buildings are built in. According to, “cbsnews” over 300 Bangladesh garment industry factories are dangerous and have potential to collapse and 50 of the buildings were are needed to be shut down. Most of these buildings are dangerous for the soil they were built on, or the fact that too many floors were added. According to cbsnews a 11 year old girl who worked in the garment industry survived in the Rana plaza accident. She said she had seen the cracks in the walls for days and others had too, and on the day of the accident, she didn't want to go in but a supervisor slapped her and forced her in.
You can buy american made clothing
According to the article, "The North Face Rolling Out Made in America Line" buying American clothing helps increase the demand of American clothing which can lead to the increase of jobs and less poverty around the country. The garment industry would also help America stop being a consumer country by increasing our exports and decreasing the imports of clothing.
Also According to the aricle, "The North Face Rolling Out Made in America Line" buying American made clothing guarantees that clothing factories are under American law which means that the factories are guaranteed to have safe working conditions, and support a living wage to those living in poverty and those that don't have a job. Unlike Bangladesh factories which are not subject to many guidelines by the government.
Also, the article "The North Face Rolling Out Made in America Line" states that knowing that the pants or shirt you bought was made in a factory with an environment that is safe, friendly, and follows American laws unlike Bangladesh factories which most abuse workers, have unsafe, unfriendly working conditions and are NOT subject to even their own government laws.
You can continue to buy bangladesh made clothing
However, according to the article "Why You Shouldn't Stop Buying from Bangladesh" children and adults are working up to 100 hours a week or around 4 days 4 hours, for 2 dollars every 24 hours. That is a little more than $9 a week. If you buy Bangladesh clothing you would be supporting workers and help reduce the hours worked per week and stop child labor.
Alos according to the article,"Why You Shouldn't Stop Buying from Bangladesh" buying Bangladesh clothing gives more revenue to the factories which means that a raise across entire factories for workers. This could lead to the poverty line falling, a better living, less deaths due to diseases that need very minor treatment like the flu, and a better more stable country overall. Evidence of this is from the article, "Why You Shouldn't Stop Buying from Bangladesh" and the article states that the poverty line has dropped from 59% to 43% in one year," the article also told us that, "The Bangladesh economy has grown by 5.9% every year from 2001 to 2013."
Finally, According to the article "Why You Shouldn't Stop Buying from Bangladesh" the price between a Bangladesh piece of clothing and an American piece of clothing is enormous. The price of jeans that were made in Bangladesh and sold at Old Navy were $34 dollars but are on sale for $26. The American made jeans from American Made Clothing are up to $60 and not on sale. The prices aren't different because of the product quality, but because the price of living is higher in America and the factories need to pay their workers a living wage by raising the price extremely high. The Old Navy are relatively cheap because the price of living is extremely low compared to America and the factories need to pay their workers less for their work, therefor the prices are different.
You can Buy Fair trade clothing
According to "fairtradeusa.org" fair trade is a non profit organization. Fair Trade takes factories that sign up and make those companies agree to a list of 350+ requirements to use their icon on their products. This icon symbolizes that the product the consumer bought was made in a safe, environment made by workers being treated fairly and making a living wage. That is one part of fair trade's system.
Also according to "fairtradeusa.org" the second part of Fair Trade's system is the premium. The premium is a margin of the owners own money that goes into a bank account ran by the factory workers. The factory workers vote on what they want to do with the money. An example is the workers could build a daycare or school, running water for the entire factory grounds, a truck to transport crops back and forth, and such.
Finnaly, according to "fairtradeusa.org" The third part of third trade deal are inspections. Every once in a while fair trade will ask to send an inspector to go to the factory, and make sure that all the requirements are being for filled. If the factory refuses to let the inspector come, or are not meeting the requirements, the factory is revoked access to the fair trade icon and can not use the icon on their products
Buying fair trade made clothing guarantees that factories like the ones in Bangladesh, have safe working conditions, offer a factory premium that workers can use to make work easier, and also ensure that the factory has a friendly work environment for all. Overall buying Fair trade is the best option to choice from.