Outsourcing is en vogue

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Picture this: you’re out shopping and you find a blouse you really like. You catch a glimpse of the tag that reads “Made in China” and you just go along with your purchase. That tag does not phase U.S. citizens,

According to the United States Trade Representative, in 2015, the U.S. imported $482 billion worth of products from China alone. Imports can be seen as a really great thing for both manufactures and buyers – one profiting and the other saving money. However, if the sole purpose of manufacturing in China is to lower costs for both manufacturers and buyers, then why are higher-end brands moving their manufacturing companies from France and Italy to other developing countries? Will these luxury products now cost less?

The answer is no. Designer brands are raising their prices to maintain their upscale image. In this digital age, with social media displaying various lavish lifestyles, the desire and demand for these products is rising, so brands are becoming more expensive. With high demands and prices rising, how do brands continually grow each year? Basic business 101: they cut costs. They move their manufacturing to a country where they pay less for labor.

For example, 20 percent of Prada’s products are made in China, according to the Wall Street Journal. This doesn’t make the bag any less authentic than if it were made in Italy. It also doesn’t keep Prada from charging the same amount.

Abercrombie and Fitch were involved in a huge scandal in 2010 because they were manufacturing their clothes in sweatshops with children, according to the International Labor Rights Forum. Instead of their sky-rocket profits funding better work environments, profits were going into pockets.

Designer brands charging the same amount for a bag that was made by Europeans in the craft and one made by underpaid factory workers in China not only takes away heritage from the company but also creates exuberant profits. College students can get involved in these issues by getting educated and reading up on specific brands and stores. A lot of information can be found online – like on laborrights.org. So next time, put a little research into your next purchase to make sure you’re paying a valid amount for brand, quality and labor.

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