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How does the A. clothing industry bring up the coronavirus mask

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How does the A. clothing industry bring up the coronavirus mask

Abdul Rashid Dadabhoy knew he had a critical problem when Orange County supervisors closed all unnecessary businesses on March 17 in response to the coronavirus, forcing him to stop production at AST Sportswear, one of the country’s biggest shirt makers.

But he also had a solution that was almost instantaneous.

After hearing about the lack of a critical facial mask, Dadabhoy sat down with his three brothers the next morning and made a prototype cotton version, which workers at the vertically integrated Brea plant in the company issued 1,200 sheets the next day. The company has made more than 10 million masks since then.

“We continue to do that and we still do that,” said Dadabhoy, chief operating officer of the family-owned business, which boasts the label “Made in USA” and the ability to fill orders faster than its competition abroad.

Indeed, demand is not expected to decrease in the near future, especially now because Governor Gavin Newsom issued an order on Thursday to make masks mandatory in most public settings.

The virus outbreak has cut trade and destroyed the economy, but it also provides opportunities for several companies and industries that have maintained supply chains and production near home – and a prime example is the clothing industry in Southern California which is shrinking but is still vibrant.

While other sectors remained closed for months, the Southern California clothing manufacturer, which employs thousands, lit pennies to produce masks and other personal protective equipment that was badly needed. This agility allows local businesses to compete with low-cost overseas suppliers, but also exposes employees to the possibility of infection and reignites allegations that their low-income workforce and most immigrants are being exploited.

More than 400 clothing companies have participated in Laks. Mayor Eric Garcetti LA Protect initiative to produce 5 million masks, which are open to Los Angeles city and county businesses. AST joins the national PPE consortium of major clothing makers that includes Los Angeles Apparel and large apparel such as Hanesbrands.

AST Sportswear in Brea has sent about 10 million masks so far.

(Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)

This initiative highlights the prominence of domestic industry excellence that has persisted despite being hit in recent decades by the growth of international trade, including through the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1994 and the entry of China into the World Trade Organization in 2001.

According to one estimate, employment in the apparel industry has shrunk since the early 1990s from around 150,000 to only 45,000 today as leading brands move production abroad to take advantage of lower labor costs in Mexico, Central America and Asia. But Los Angeles remains one of the top fashion centers in the country, now determined by trendsetters like Revolve and Fashion Nova, e-commerce businesses that have experienced skyrocketing growth from Instagram’s broad influencers base.

This is an industry segment where responding to rapid changes in taste is paramount, and where local production can provide an edge over foreign factories with long supply chains – and potential quality control issues, something that has recently been highlighted by mask imports. China.

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One company that started making masks and other PPE is Lefty Production Co., a vertically integrated “one-stop” shop that provides design consulting, pattern making, cutting, sewing and other services for smaller brands. It was founded by Marta Miller and partner Emily Roiff in 2012, after realizing that future designers needed help making their clothes locally made.

“We do not knit fabric, but apart from that part of the supply chain, we have everyone on one team under one roof doing all that,” Miller said.

Lefty Production serves nearly 100 small designers who sell directly to consumers online or wholesale and want a stack of 300 to 10,000 clothing items – a type of order that is not handled by large volume Asian factories or that may cost too much.

“When the volume decreases, their prices go abroad, and it starts to make less economic sense. My client wants a low and fast inventory. Things that can’t be done abroad, “Miller said.” I have a client. We cut the top and bottom of the same bikini maybe in a hundred different colors, and each color is like 20 or 30 units. “

When the home stay order was issued, Miller began serving the medical industry. “Large hospital. “They ordered abroad and they didn’t get their packages, so they ran out of masks, ran out of bob hats, ran out of shoe coverings,” said Miller, who was able to keep 35 of his workers working.

Meanwhile, big fashion brands that have struggled from reducing mall traffic and growing online sales driven by Instagram, have experienced hard times. Preppy entrepreneur J. Crew, who did not have a mask to sell on his main website at the end of last week, filed for bankruptcy in May after a debt-laden chain was pushed to the edge by a virus-related closure. This follows the bankruptcy filing of the fast fashion retailer based on the Forever 21 mall in September, at least in part because of online competition.

Los Angeles Apparel, founded by Dov Charney, deposed from its previous business, American Apparel, after a term spotted by sexual harassment and other charges, has expanded its new business quickly through an online sales model, directly to consumers since it was founded in 2016 He also quickly shifted to making masks.

Los Angeles clothes making elevated bases similar to American Apparel, which during Charney’s possession operated a retail shop, knitted his own cloth, and cut and sewed his clothes in a factory in the city center. The new company is not yet knitting yarn, but instead is vertically integrated in the South LA factory complex.

Charney said that although the clothes cost more than imports, the price difference is not important for fashion conscious buyers who can afford $ 24 chat shirts and $ 78 pants. More important is the ability to quickly respond to online fashion trends that can quickly change .

“What’s really important right now is product assembly, to speed up or slow down production. Nobody said that Walmart should not be free to buy in Bangladesh for five cents. I’m just saying it’s a business flow. There is also a flow of millions of dollars from the rapid reaction of urban manufacturing, “he said.

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The Los Angeles outfit took advantage of that power in February to start making masks, hospital gowns and other PPE. The company is so busy that it employs hundreds of workers and opens two newly leased buildings. Charney said the company now employs 2,000 people.

At AST, Dadabhoy said the company could place products in the hands of buyers within four to six weeks after placing an order, about twice as fast as suppliers abroad. In contrast, Levi Strauss & Co., sourced from hundreds of factories around the world and only a few in the U.S., just this month announced it was selling masks.

AST has also been able to reduce the price difference – despite paying workers an average of $ 20 per hour plus benefits – through vertical integration. Apart from cutting and sewing, he knits and dyes his own cloth, which removes markup through the production process. But for some buyers it’s still not enough.

Brothers Mohamed Dadabhoy, left, Abdul Rashid Dadabhoy, Taher Dadabhoy and Shoaib Dadabhoy are owners of AST Sportswear.

Brothers Mohamed Dadabhoy, left, Abdul Rashid Dadabhoy, Taher Dadabhoy and Shoaib Dadabhoy have AST Sportswear.

(Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)

“Retailers drive price points. That’s when they say, “I can only sell this much,” or they want to get a certain margin. “At that point I cannot sell to them because they can buy the same product at half the price as an import,” he said.

Of course, there are dangers to the model, apart from retailers whose main focus is cost. While keeping production at your doorstep can help minimize supply chain risks, there is no guarantee in the age of the corona virus.

The Los Angeles outfit has struggled to keep the coronavirus at bay. The company said it was conducting temperature checks, encouraging social distance and washing hands, and had set up a cardboard barrier at each work station to try to protect workers. But one employee recently died, prompting the company to do a worker test.

“People were very scared at the time,” said one worker, who sewed a mask and asked not to be identified because he immigrated to the United States without documents. While he was tested negative, a woman sitting next to him tested positive, as did two of his coworkers whom he called friends. Overall, more than 10 employees tested positive in this month’s outbreak, the company confirmed.

Charney said the company had experienced previous cases, and he called the outbreak “worrying,” prompting the company to increase workstation barriers, reemphasize social distance rules and begin routine testing of all employees every seven to 10 days. “We do everything we can,” he said. “This is a scary time.”

He said the factory was inspected by Cal / OSHA and the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. Officials at Cal / OSHA cannot comment immediately. Tim Gilman, a public health spokesman, said the department is working with the company to investigate this issue.

The industry has long been plagued by wage theft, and labor lawyers say that some factory owners have exploited workers who make masks and other protective equipment, paying them wages below the standard in dangerous conditions because they have nowhere else to turn. Los Angeles Apparel pays its workers a minimum wage of $ 14.25 per hour in the city and a bonus piece rate that can more than double the hourly rate, according to Charney.

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“This is an industry that has had workers working in very unhealthy conditions before [COVID-19], and we see a lot of business as usual now, “Marissa Nuncio, director of the Garment Workers Center in downtown LA, told The Times in April.” When workers produce something that is very much needed, it is unacceptable that they should continue working in unsafe conditions and for wages in the sweatshop. ”

Labor supporters say the domestic clothing industry is profitable, but there is no dispute that Los Angeles factories are under price pressure from foreign competition which employs millions of low-paid workers.

More than 97% of clothing sold to US consumers is produced abroad, with around 80% coming from China, Vietnam, Bangladesh and other Asian countries, said Sheng Lu, a professor of fashion and clothing studies at the University of Delaware.

Even so, the U.S. apparel industry remains substantial, especially in textile production, which is largely based in the Southeast and continues to grow. Capital-intensive and technological textile manufacturing, which has enabled the US to become the fourth largest exporter of cotton, synthetic and cotton textiles in the world – fabrics that are finding their way to clothing imported back into the country.

Meanwhile, California has more domestic clothing manufacturers than any other state, which accounts for 24% nationally, twice as much as New York, the second leading state, according to an analysis conducted by Lu and other researchers from the federal database, which he notes is not comprehensive.

However, Lu doubts that the pandemic will have a significant effect in returning overseas production to the US, where he agrees that the advantage is speed to market, usually on higher-priced women’s clothing that is not price sensitive. “The labels – ‘Made in the US’ – are still a niche,” he said.

Most likely, he said, some apparel companies might decide to look for more from Mexico and Central America – where they have sent US textiles to be assembled into clothing and there is widespread political support because of the recently passed United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement and the Treaty Central American Free Trade Agreement 2006.

“There are no signs that clothing production will return to the US in a sizeable manner,” said Lu, who prepared the annual industry study of the US Industry Fashion Assn.

Jon Gold, vice president of supply chain and customs policy at the National Retail Federation, said that even before the pandemic, the trade war had encouraged clothing and other producers to inspect their distant supply chains and risk being very dependent on China. .

He said his typical response was to try to diversify into other Asian countries, while he agreed that outsourcing near the coast to Mexico or Central America would also be an option.

“There’s a reason we grew as an economy for decades. There are certain things that we don’t do anymore and can’t do. We are a more developed economy, “he said.

The Times’s staff writer, Sam Dean, contributed to this article.

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Prize for the Portuguese. Andre Silva is Champions League Player of the Week

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Prize for the Portuguese.  Andre Silva is Champions League Player of the Week

BUTndre Silva won the competition and became the best player of the week in the Champions League, informed UEFAthis Thursday.

The former Porto striker scored in Jota’s 3-1 victory over Celtic Leipzig, scoring a brace in a match that was signed after his Portuguese compatriot equalized.

In addition, Andre Silva also provided the assist for Nkunku, scoring the first goal of this Wednesday’s game in which huge show of foreign fans.

In addition to the Leipzig striker, Di Maria (Juventus), Bellingham (Borussia Dortmund) and Di Lorenzo (Napoli) also fought in the fight for the prize, but it was the Portuguese who managed to smile after voting for the third round of the competition, the famous This Thursday is the fair.

Read also: Diogo Costa and Andre Silva named to Champions League Team of the Week

See also: Andre Silva among the nominees for the title of the best player of the week in the Champions League

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See also: Andre Silva took advantage of Hart’s colossal mistake and responded to Jota’s goal

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Eternal Portuguese deja vu – Renaissance

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Eternal Portuguese deja vu - Renaissance

At the end of the summer of 1972, exactly half a century ago, SEDES – Associação para o Desenvolvimento Económico e Social (the most famous reformist think tank during Marseilles) issued a document for the country entitled “Portugal: The country we are, the country we want to be “. The Marseille spring had already turned into autumn: Américo Thomas had just been re-elected, the colonial war had dragged on, repression had intensified, and an economic crisis was already brewing. Seeing the general frustration, and at the same time willing to go against it, the signatories of CEDES began by asking “Where will we be and how will we be in 1980?” to criticize the obstacles that overshadowed Portugal in the early 1970s.

Among the “problems that are getting worse without a solution”, emigration stood out, indicating the country’s inability to offer better living and working conditions to those who left; the growing inflationary process, reflected in the cost of living; the inevitability of economic integration in Europe when the country is not ready for international commercial competition; “disaggregation of regional economies” with “continuous depopulation of municipalities and regions” within the country; or “deterioration of public administration” when the government fails to promote a “prestigious, moralized, revitalized and efficient public sector”. “No one will have any difficulty,” continued the text, “to add to a new list of urgent questions that seriously endanger national life, about which much has been said and which, year after year, continue to wait for a sufficient solution.” Therefore, “the prevailing feeling in the country” in contemplation of the recent past and present could not but be “annoyance at urgent battles, the need for which was endlessly discussed, at decisions that were changed or postponed, and at rejected goals” or which were not clearly formulated ” .

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Between “untapped resources” and/or “lack of organizational and decision-making capacity” there was “widespread anxiety” stemming from the inevitable observation that “we are very far from the results that we could achieve thanks to the progress of the Portuguese and Portugal”. This was the macro goal of the reformist, humanist and liberalizing technocrats that SEDES brought together. “Ultimately,” they reminded Marcelo Cayetano, “the real obstacle can only be associated with the low political priority of economic and social development in our country.” So, in short, there was an urgent need to “radically change our economic, social and political way of life”, since “a national balance based on general anemia, repression and weakening of various participants” is unsustainable and pernicious.

SEDES did not know that the Estado Novo would fall in April 1974, that democracy would come in 1976, and Europe from the EEC (after EFTA) in 1986 of repression, finally gained the freedom that was discussed between the lines of the 1972 manifesto ., there would be conditions for solving (almost) all economic and social problems of development and cohesion.

Fifty years have passed since this manifesto, and almost the same number has already been in democracy. However, if we compare the above quotes with the Portuguese present, the feeling of deja vu is indescribable. SEDES wondered what the country would be like in 1980 and is wondering today (in its recent study “Ambition: Doubling GDP in 20 Years”) where we will be in 2040. It may be a replay of a sad fate: knowing (some) where to go, but never getting there!

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Algeria interested in Portuguese companies investing in renewable energy – Observer

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Algeria interested in Portuguese companies investing in renewable energy - Observer

Foreign Minister João Gomes Cravinho met this Wednesday with his Algerian counterpart Ramtan Lamamra, who expressed interest in Portuguese companies investing in Algeria’s solar and wind energy.

Speaking with Lusa, João Cravinho also said that for 2023 it was decided to hold a “high-level meeting chaired by the prime ministers” of the two countries, a meeting to be held in Algiers, in addition to the state visit of the President of Algeria. Algeria to Portugal.

The Portuguese foreign minister said today’s visit to Algeria, where he was with Ramtan Lamamra, whom he has known since 2005 when he was ambassador to Lisbon, is “based on old knowledge”, but also a visit to a country that “does not to be a neighbor”, shares “a lot of fears”. “Not being a neighboring country, it almost shares many concerns about the region, the Mediterranean, the European Union’s relationship with Africa and the Arab world. It was important for us to talk about what we can do together as part of the geopolitical and geo-economic transformation,” he explained.

João Cravinho stressed that the issue of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was a factor “which could not but be the subject of dialogue”, and also added that “geo-economic issues related to energy, renewable energy sources and the opportunities that come with the digital transition” also were on the table.

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“While Algeria is a major exporter of fossil fuels, it is also a country with huge potential in terms of solar and wind energy. We have very qualified companies in these areas, and the Algerian side has expressed interest in [ter] Portuguese investors in these areas,” the minister said.

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The official said that it would be a matter of working with the Portuguese Agency for Investment and Foreign Trade (AICEP), with the Secretary of State for Internationalization, as well as with a sectoral ministry, namely the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change. A “high-level meeting chaired by the prime ministers” of the two countries is scheduled for 2023, a meeting to be held in Algiers, in addition to the Algerian President’s state visit to Portugal.

“We have a very busy calendar between the two countries. Now we will try to organize a mixed commission, where technical specialists from both countries will gather,” he said, stressing that there are “14 legal documents that are practically finalized and will be signed” in 2023.

João Gomes Cravinho was on a visit to Algiers today to assess bilateral relations in the economic sphere, as well as in terms of cooperation, language and culture, and to discuss international issues.

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