March 11, 1999 |
She left Puebla, Mexico, seven years ago to work in the garment factories of Southern California. She thought the days of dirt-poor wages were long behind her. But things have not gone well for Hilda Aguilar. As sewing jobs chased cheap labor in Mexico or were lost to technology in the last two years, Aguilar's paycheck has shrunk by about 40%. She now earns far less than the state minimum wage of $5.75 an hour, but Aguilar is not about to complain.
February 12, 1999 |
Baba Bleecher is having a fashion passion moment. Spinning before her is Ford model Camerone Chambers in a killer gown adorned with black sequins, beads and etched flowers on sheer chiffon. It took Luanie Kologi--Bleecher's partner--three days to piece the garment together: an asymmetrical variation of Kologi's trademark "flame" dress that hugs the bosom but on the rest of the bod moves like a sinful Malibu fire. Burn, baby, burn.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 5, 1999 |
It was like the breakup of a family. Men and women held on to each other and wept. Longtime employees couldn't bear to say goodbye. Holly Bra, a swimsuit factory that had been in Hollywood since 1949, has shuttered its doors for good, the latest apparent victim of the cutthroat competition facing the U.S. garment industry.
October 7, 1998 |
When Emilio Bole asked a local subcontractor how much she would charge to sew a bridal gown based on a sample brought from China, the answer meant the end of business as usual at Bole's Simi Valley company. The price was far higher than what it would cost to have the work done overseas. In fact, the U.S. sewing price alone came to a whopping 50% of the cost to have the entire dressmaking process handled in China, including fabric, patterns, sewing and shipping, Bole said.
September 30, 1998
Loy S. Tam and his wife, Po, emigrated from Hong Kong to Los Angeles with their two sons in 1976. They purchased a small garment factory from a friend in 1978 and for the last five years they have been making swimwear for Portland, Ore.-based Jantzen. As overseas competition increases and prices fall, Tam has felt the pinch.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 28, 1998 |
They wanted someone to know--about marathon days spent in cramped, windowless lofts and storefronts, working for wages often below the legal minimum and without health insurance. "We are honest workers, looking to support our families, but we are treated unjustly," said Juan Canto, an 8-year veteran in the Los Angeles underworld of garment sweatshops. "People should imagine us in these buildings as they drive by."
February 25, 1998 |
Christopher Griffin has a nose for money: He spent the 1980s in the heady world of Los Angeles real estate, then jumped ship before the market crashed for a three-year entrepreneurial fling selling a new, iceless cooler touted on MTV and carried by Nordstrom. When that fad faded, he parlayed his industry contacts into a stake in a lucrative area of the clothing business in the early '90s: garment dyeing.