Investigation: US/Guatemala relations from Sweatshops to textile & fashion

Initially I was very much interested in investigating the relationship between the U.S. and Guatemala through the economy behind sweatshops in Guatemala that provides some of the most popular companies with various products that range from art crafts, home supplies, to cloths. Through my research it seems that in recent years there has been some pressure groups such as the Institute for Global Labour & Human Rights that is based here in the U.S., exposing large corporations and advocating for labour rights in Guatemala.

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Li & Fung in china, is one of the largest sourcing and logistics companies in the world that is considered the matchmaker between cheap labour in poor countries and affluent vendors. In investigating the Alianza Guatemala crisis it has been found that there is a huge discrepancy between the production cost and retail cost. For example, Calvin Klein boys suit retailed for %59.9 where the actual production cost is just $9.23.

“We definitely are part of bringing the prices down, there’s no question about that, because we are arbitrating factories and countries all the time,” said CEO Bruce Rockowitz.

Having said so, it seems that two societies were cheated, the Guatemalans being over-worked and under-paid, and the Americans for overpaying large companies. Now this indirect relationship raises a question, have Guatemalans exported their aesthetic taste for textile and fashion to the U.S. ?  In 1996 , professor Matthew Looper realized that the civil had taken its toll on people especially the indigenous which as a result will affect textile arts. Professor Looper, spent a year in Guatemala with different indigenous groups documenting the treatment of textile , style of attire , resources needed, patterns and designs.

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Growing from the richness of Guatemalan colors, documentation of textile, sharing the beauty , stories and memories my research paper is unfolding the exciting truth behind a globalized Guatemala through textile , fashion and arts.

My point of reference for this research is Quique Lee.

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