Think Global, Act Local
As a global citizen, I try to consider how my actions affect those around the world. Companies have moved overseas in order to increase profit that only people at the top receive. As I have mentioned before, I am all about fair trade and altruistic business models, including businesses that produce overseas. However, when the mass migration of the fashion industry went to countries like Cambodia, Vietnam, India, and China it took with it a level of separation that allowed corruption to step in and loyalties to fade. Companies go to the cheapest labor, which means that there is no relational value of company to manufacturer.
Local, as I am defining here, is “Made in the USA.” Although companies can still jump through loopholes in the US, we have regulations and unions to protect workers. It is a lot less likely that your “Made in the USA” apparel is from a sweatshop than something that is made in China, Bangladesh, or Cambodia.
Environmentally, local makes sense. Cutting down on shipping is one of the obvious impacts. Transporting items and people around the world produces a lot of carbon dioxide (CO2). Perhaps more importantly, having production locally means that factories' environmental impacts are in front of us, allowing us to test and ensure that the air and water aren't being polluted. Although companies have failed in the past (shout out to Erin Brokovich!), at least we can play a role in our community and demand accountability.
Another really cool aspect to consider is that because of this mass move overseas, many companies that are “Made in America” today aren't always huge corporations. Instead, they are local designers, family owned businesses, startups that care about environmental impacts, or creatives that are truly interested in the process of making their design.