The Washington Post published an expose of the Ivanka Trump clothing line clearly demonstrating that even when compared to the greater fashion industry, the Trump brand is out of step with modern labor and business practices.
While the industry increasingly turns to independent monitors to observe conditions in their factories, the Trump brand apparently relies on self-policing.
From big brands such as Adidas and Kenneth Cole to smaller, newer players like California-based Everlane, many U.S. clothing companies have in recent years made protecting factory workers abroad a priority — hiring independent auditors to monitor labor conditions, pressing factory owners to make improvements and providing consumers with details about the overseas facilities where their goods are produced.
But the Trump brand has taken a more hands-off approach. Although executives say they have a code of conduct that prohibits physical abuse and child labor, the company relies on its suppliers to abide by the policy.
Working conditions and compensation at even the most high profile foreign factories probably isn't as good as it should be even if the Trump brand stands out among the rest as a particular bad actor.
It's not clear to me to what extent anyone can be truly proud about the source of their clothing even if it was made here in the US, but that's what the Trump brand or at least the Trump political brand has promised, isn't it?
Donald Trump has boasted many times that we're going to "make America great again" by manufacturing things in America again, but we're not. We're not going to start making clothes here again, unless its done by robots, and the top executive of the Ivanka Trump brand apparently agrees.
Trump brand executive Abigail Klem candidly told the Washington Post that we don't even have the capacity to manufacture various clothing items here.
Klem, the Trump brand president, said the company is exploring ways to produce some goods in the United States but that “to do it at a large scale is currently not possible.”
Klem spoke to The Post in the fashion line’s offices on the 23rd floor of Trump Tower, three floors below the headquarters of the Trump Organization. On a table next to her lay a copy of a 2016 Business of Fashion report, “Unravelling the Myth of ‘Made in America.’ ”
“The workers no longer exist here or only in very small, small capacity; the machinery in many instances does not exist here,” Klem said. “It is a very complex problem.”
Yes, it is a very complex problem.
Donald Trump may not know it (this depends on just stupid you believe he is), but Ivanka does. The braintrust currently running the Trump family's brands knows it. The only people buying Trump's "made it America" talk and tough stance on foreign trade are people who understand neither.
Unless Americans are willing to give up their imported products and literally face empty store shelves and tight supply, Trump's dream of a trade war is not going to turn out the way anyone on the left or right believes it will. We are not going to suddenly leap into action and begin mass producing Nike shoes or iPhones in the Rust Belt which does not even have the capacity in technology or manpower to do so.
For perspective, the company that manufactures the iPhone, Foxconn, has over 1 million employees with 100,000 lines of production. Hundreds of thousands of their employees build nothing but phones. We'll never duplicate that here.
Some people say the Trump brand should move their production here to live up to Trump Sr's rhetoric and promises, but I think he should drop the bullshit and level with people. Stop feeding them a fantasy.