Los Angeles Apparel Crew Neck Baby Tee

overall rating:

1.75

planets

Eva Boyes
8/6/2021
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Overall, this tee-shirt is definitely a step up from the normal clothes of fast-fashion, but it is by no means perfect. Most of the issues I had with this shirt and Los Angeles Apparel stemmed from a lack of transparency, but the things they did mention about their sustainability and company ethics were good and progressive. All of their clothes are made in the USA and most of them are made in their own factories in LA, so there is a lot of control around the garment manufacturing process. I like their choice to make the shirt out of cotton, but I wish they had used organic cotton and/or ethically grown cotton. I felt that they could have given the customer more information as far as their actual production and what they use for dyeing/what their factories’ carbon outputs are. I was the biggest fan of their treatment of their employees’ and the high wages they pay, especially when the industry norms are to grossly underpay workers. If I was in need of a shirt and this was what fit into my price rage (this shirt is $18), then I would feel comfortable purchasing it.

What it's made of:

1.5

This shirt is 100% cotton. Cotton has lots of advantages, and some disadvantages too. Unlike polyester, a similar fabric, it is made from plants and therefore comes from a renewable resource and is biodegradable. Additionally, it is breathable and easily machine washable. Cotton does have some downsides though, because over-farming and/or farming with monocultures can degrade soil and weaken ecosystems. If the cotton is non-organic pesticides and insecticides can also harm natural ecosystems and pose a threat to farmers health. The product page does not say that this shirt is made of organic cotton, so I have to assume that is it just normal cotton, although Los Angeles Apparel’s “Our Values” page does state that they are “striving” to incorporate organic and recycled cotton into their supply chain. This feels like a bit of a cop-out to me, because they list no percentages of organic/recycled cottons that they currently use, or any plans they have to work with it further. One positive is that they use over 50% domestic farmers for their yarn, because doing so reduces the carbon footprint of shipping. Overall, I don’t hate their decision to use cotton as the material for this shirt, I just wish that they had used organic and environmentally friendly cotton.

How it's made:

1.5

From what I understand, all of the clothes that Los Angeles Apparel manufactures are made in the USA. They also note on their website that all of the dyeing and finishing for their clothes are done in California, and because of that they are subject to California’s “stringent environmental protection rules imposed by the industry in dyeing.” This is helpful to know, because often the dyeing of bright colored clothing can be done with harmful chemicals, but there was not an explanation on their site as to what these rules actually were. I was also unable to pin down the legal code that lays out these rules, and so I feel I cannot judge them one way or another as far as dyeing goes. They do not have a lot of additional information about their manufacturing processes, except for that they rarely subcontract and do everything in the US. While this is good, I would like to see more concrete numbers and facts. They do mention that their goal as a company is to create quality basics that will be in style and last for years. I really like this sentiment, and this tee-shirt is definitely something that will not fall victim to trend cycles. Additionally, they ship all of their clothes carbon neutral which I like, but they do not say that the entire company is carbon neutral, so in the future I would like to see them also offset the carbon produced in their factories and sourcing. 

Who makes it:

2

This is the area that Los Angeles Apparel seems to care most about. They proudly call themselves “sweat shop free” and report that the average worker in their factories makes $20 an hour, with some making $35 with bonuses. This is a night and day difference from what is the norm in the LA garment factory industry, where the average worker makes $5 an hour. They also mention how many of their workers are highly trained, and have worked with the company’s owner for over 10 years. This investment in employees and lack of employee turnover indicates a safe and comfortable workplace and a culture that promotes from within. They are less transparent on their sourcing and how the workers in the places they source from are treated. I think that they could definitely improve in that area, but they have definitely covered their main responsibility by paying their workers a fair and honest wage for their time.