Tuesday, March 09, 2010

An Asian Invasion

The topic of apparel and accessories being made in China has been a controversial topic for a very long time. For several years now, people all around the world have expressed their opinions about manufacturing in China in regards to an ethical, economical and financial point of view. More people are going in to retail stores every day and asking where the clothing items were made. There have been many cases where people have decided against making a purchase because the item of clothing or accessory was made in China or a third world country. This has shown a growing awareness among consumers, proving that we are no longer turning a blind eye to what inevitably affects us personally, those around us and our country. This is a good and bad thing for retailers, the Canadian economy and China’s economy.

An upside to purchasing items made in China is that the consumer is getting a product at a generally well priced item. With our recent recession which affected millions of people around the world, people have become far more frugal with the way they shop. This is also beneficial to businesses that do thrive on selling inexpensive goods. Unfortunately, the less expensive the product (whether it being a shirt or piece of jewelry), the less of a chance the product will hold up for as long as the customer would like. Another benefit (only to some people) to buying clothing/accessories made in China is that they feel as though they are helping a developing economy. This being said, many companies that are developing in North America are more eager to turn to China because they will have the opportunity to turn more of a profit for their business.

The downside to purchasing clothing/accessories made in China is that although people believe China is still developing, they have already taken over the world! If you Google the phrase “is China taking over the world”, you will find over 1 billion websites which relate to that topic, which just goes to show how many people have already been wildly concerned. It may seem as though America still holds all the power, but China has spread itself into every country in the world. This causes a great deal of pain to the Canadian economy because generally products that are made in our own country are priced higher due to labor costs. Unfortunately in China, people are willing to work longer hours for less money. This is where the ethical debate generally begins. Many people find China to be the centre of mistreatment of workers in factories as well as child labor. Brands such as Nike, The Gap and Wal-Mart are some of the companies to have been caught with using child labor as well as unethical treatment of workers in their factories. The frightening thing about this is that those three companies alone are some of the most high grossing, popular companies in the entire world! Unfortunately, because many people who run businesses are often money hungry, they continuously contribute to the downfall of Canada/America by moving their manufacturing warehouses elsewhere. It is important to keep jobs in our own countries as well as provide fair wages and a good product due to it being made in a well maintained factory. If we continue a trend of making good clothing and accessories in our own home country, we will have a more satisfied consumer that will be more eager to purchase more goods that were also made in Canada.

Unfortunately, each party has a different stand point on whether or not continuing more labor in China is a good thing or not. Especially with the mass amounts of clothing and accessories made on a day to day basis, there is constantly a high demand for fast fashion and enormous amounts of clothing in short periods of time. The world is constantly consuming, and with the growing male fashion industry, there is even more of a demand from retailers. I believe that every retailer in Canada should always consider carrying goods made in Canada. Not only will this increase an awareness among even more consumers, this will potentially create more jobs for people in Canada, boost where we stand in the economy and add more pride in the articles of clothing and/or accessories we wear.

No comments: