Dark and dingy factories. Women and children working, elbow to elbow, hunched over machines. Nike. Guess. Kathy Lee Gifford. Sweatshops are an all too familiar story, operating both in the United States and overseas. But does the fashion industry always have to be linked to worker exploitation?
Enter SweatX and American Apparel, two hip new clothing manufacturers that operate in downtown Los Angeles, just blocks from each other. Both companies are committed to creating "sweat-shop-free" clothing by ensuring workers earn livable wages, receive benefits and work in a safe environment. SweatX is backed by $1.5 million in venture capital from progressive ice-cream maker Ben Cohen, co-founder of Ben & Jerry's. American Apparel was built from the ground up by eccentric Canadian immigrant Dov Charney.
No Sweat follows these two very different companies for one year, comparing their leadership and business practices, documenting a union drive, and zeroing in on the hopes and dreams of the garment workers themselves. The film investigates whether these companies can actually survive in the tight economic conditions that have sent so much of their competition overseas.
The documentary is a refreshingly honest and wild ride into the bowels of an industry that is notorious for its exploitation of mostly poor, immigrant women. From panties to politics, feminism to machismo, globalization and classic T-shirts (check your closet -- you probably already own one), No Sweat is a promiscuous, playful, nonpompous, non-politically-correct film -- the first portrait of the people behind the companies producing the next huge American clothing revolution.
This program is not currently scheduled for broadcast.
Read more about Amie Williams, filmmaker of No Sweat.
A Home on the Range: Crew & CreditsProduced, Directed and Edited by
Irv and Edna Newman
Lily Fishman Krulevitch
Video Post Production
Bob Johns, Finishing
David O. Weissman, Technical Consulting
Video Arts Inc., San Francisco
Audio Post Production
Robert Berke Sound, San Francisco
Fantasy Studios, Berkeley, California
Randy Craig, keyboard
Ben Goldberg, clarinet
Susan Thompson, violin
Jeanette Lewicki, accordion
Linda Lipton Abernathy
Sol and Rose Fishman
Sheba and Joe Rapoport
Ann and Leon Barlas
Lily Fishman Krulevitch
Sid and Gerry Lipton
Barry and George Nitzberg
Sylvia Schwartz and Family
Bill and Gussie Sovel
Petaluma Historical Library Museum
Petaluma Museum Association
Sonoma County Library
West County Museum, Sebastopol
Western Sonoma Historical Society
Evelyn S. Mc Clure
Labor Archives, SF State University
Lynn A. Bonfield
Congregation B'nai Israel, Petaluma
Rabbi Leah Sudran
YIVO Institute For Jewish Research
Library Of Congress
Jack London State Historic Park
Dr. Les Adler
Dr. Sam Haber
Dr. Ava Kahn
Kenneth L. Kann
Dr. Vincenza Scarpaci
Dr. Phillip Naftaly
Dr. Albert Warhaftig
California Council For The Humanities
Richard A. Cummings
Nathan Cummings Fund
Lucius and Eva Eastman Fund, Inc.
Pacific Pioneer Fund
Gay Le Baron
Judah L. Magnes Museum
Jewish Community Agency of Sonoma County
Clarity Educational Productions, Inc.
Baby Chick Ranglers
courtesy Erik Jacobsen, Trans/tone Productions
"Arbiter Ring Himenn"
("Workman's Circle Anthem")
performed by Jewish Folk Chorus of San Francisco
"Zog Nit Keyn Mol"
(The Partisan Song")
Words, Hirsh Glik
Music, Dmitri Pokrass
Performed by Sam Lipshultz
Performed by Scott Gerber
music by Peter Degeyter
In Loving Memory:
Irving Mayer Burt
C. 2002 Bonnie Burt and Judith Montell
Also on KQED.org this week ...
Drought Watch 2015: Record-Low Sierra Snowpack
The Sierra Nevada snowpack, which typically supplies nearly a third of California's water, is showing the lowest water content on record: 6 percent of the long-term average for April 1. That shatters last year's low-water mark of 25 percent (tied with 1977).
"Boomtown" History of the San Francisco Bay Area
KQED's "Boomtown" series will seek to identify what is happening in real time in the current boom, and also draw out the causes and possible solutions to the conflicts and pressures between the old and the new.