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I looked at the GOK range in Target (who have a new campaign featuring that showy, self promoting rice queen GOK) and to my eye it’s much the same as it ever was – mostly great sewing of not very good fabrics for small women – that is, not very tall (they do go to a 16 and regular or long length in pants if you can ever get them) – and there are lots and lots and lots of garments.
GOK says BUY!

I have a black cotton drill trench coat I bought from Target 5 or 6 years ago – it’s a really practical and classically styled garment. I wear it often. By good luck the fabric is sturdy, it cost (I can’t remember exactly) $50/$60 and had it redyed black/ black recently and it’s as good as new (I’m bucking the system).

Each time I wear it I look at the unlined inside and am bowled over at the quality of the finish. All the seams are bound. Every edge meets perfectly. There’s not a stitch out of place.

I always wonder who the highly skilled sewer(s) was. How much was she paid (always assume it’s a female) to do this practically couture quality work?  My trench coat was made in China where skilled labour is now (it seems) valued more than in desperate Bangladesh.

Target have signed the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh now, but cheap clothes always means someone’s paying somewhere down the line and it’s usually the labour.  The conditions for Bangladeshi garment workers are history repeating itself. Workers were locked inside unsafe factories in the US, in England and probably here as well when ready to wear clothes were first manufactured. (The first women worker’s strike in Australia was the tailoresses’ in 1882/83.)

It took many deaths and injuries and long struggles by workers to change these conditions, which if you look into it, on the whole never got to be that good – and then China came into the picture.   Sweated labour (that’s capitalism) has always made our clothes and now it’s a squillion  dollar industry – it would be interesting to know how all that money is distributed.