2007 | Sweatshops in Focus

If you don’t come in on Sunday, don’t come in on Monday: is contemporary clothing manufacture coming clean?

12-13 October 2007


This event featured two documentaries and an artist video revisiting the highly troublesome subject of clothing sweatshops. In the beginning of the twentieth century, signs on the New York City sweatshop doors infamously announced: “If you don’t come in on Sunday, don’t come in on Monday.” Since then, issues of exploitation in the garment industry have been subject to much criticism, debate and action, culminating in the 1990s labour legislation changes and formation of organisations such as the Fair Labour Association. So, just what has happened to sweatshops since these new regulations came into force?

Two documentary filmmakers, Micha X. Peled’s (China Blue, 2005) and Amie Williams (No Sweat, 2006), recently brought (or smuggled) their cameras inside clothing factories in Asia and North America respectively. Their intention was to show that despite the garment industry legislations, factories continue to operate in shady ways with labour conditions that continue to be alarmingly poor.

The ever topical issues raised by Peled’s and Williams’s documentaries were picked up by a panel of clothing designers and manufacturers, representatives from trade unions and fair trade companies, journalists, academics and auditors. The discussion addressed the garment workers current conditions, good practices of clothes manufacture, successes and failures of the 1990s campaigns against sweatshops, the effectiveness of labour legislations and codes of conduct, consumer responsibility and the future of the apparel industry.

Curated by Christel Tsilibaris

This event takes place at The Horse Hospital.

Themes and Events

Saturday 13 October 2007, 7.00 pm

China Blue, dir. Micha X. Peled, 2005 (86 min)

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Friday 12 October 2007, 8.00 pm

Knitoscope Testimonies video piece by Cat Mazza, 2006 (2,58 min)
No Sweat dir. Amie Williams, 2006 (54min)

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