I am deeply disturbed by the recent tragic events at a garment factory in Bangladesh. This is no accident or natural disaster. It is made not just by the owners of the factory and the authorities in Bangladesh; it is a product of a relentless demand for cheaper clothing in the West – at any price. And here the price has been paid in the lives of the poor.
6 years ago we committed to a strategy of not being the cheapest. We did so in part to recognise the quality of the art RB artists create. As importantly it was out of a basic commitment to providing everybody in the chain from garment workers to the artists and the printers with a reasonable return. This is simply not possible with a $9.99 T shirt. At that price you cannot help but dishonour the art and exploit many people in the chain.
I have visited where your T shirts are manufactured (as well as most of the other production facilities of products in the product range). I have spoken with the workers, talked about their conditions and reviewed their employment terms. I am comfortable we (which really is you – the artists) are providing meaningful and rewarding employment for hundreds of people.
In summary: your T shirts are manufactured in downtown LA by American Apparel. The employees receive full health-care and other benefits and are paid well above minimum wage. The factory conditions are light, comfortable and safe. It is a factory, not Disneyland, but it is a good factory. RB artists can be comfortable with the “canvas” on which their art is sold.