Triangle Shirtwaist Company

Great sweatshops in American history -- The Triangle Shirtwaist Company after the fire of 1911

Message from the CEO


Sweatshops: Reviving an American Tradition

Sweatshops have a long and colorful history -- a history that thanks to your purchasing decisions is today enjoying a worldwide renaissance.

The name, sweatshop, goes back to the late 1800s, and refers to the technique of "sweating" as much profit as possible out of each worker. Once a thriving tradition at the turn of the century, sweatshops saw their numbers dwindle in the face of relentless encroachment by labor organization and social legislation. By the post-war years they were pushed to the brink of extinction.

But with the new arrangements made possible by the global economy -- highly mobile transnational capital, computer-coordinated production schedules, and free trade policies imposed by US AID and the World Bank -- we have been able to revive this old tradition and give it a new life in a new land: El Salvador. It even has a new name in Spanish: "maquiladora," or "maquila" for short. And whether they can pronounce the new name or not, even our most jaded corporate visitors are impressed at how well we have recreated the classic ambiance of an authentic sweatshop.

At Sweat Gear, we offer you the best of both Worlds: the corporate power and huge executive salaries of the First World as well as the cheap unorganized labor, repressive political climates, and the tax- and tariff-free trade zones of the Third World. With this lucrative blend of old and new we are able to bring you a superior product whose labor costs are just a tiny fraction of the price we charge you.

Sweat Gear Fashion Line

Empowerment Fashion Line

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