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Compounding the confusion, many retailers around the world do not even know whom they are really doing business with. Traditionally, manufacturers would present clothing samples to buyers from retail stores, then the buyers would decide on the quantity they wanted to buy and negotiate a price for their store. But in recent decades, says Joe Rodriguez, executive director of the Garment Contractors Association of Southern California (GCASC), there’s been a rising trend among retailers to cut out the manufacturers and go directly to the factoriesfor example, a department store will manufacture its own private-label clothing, such as JC Penney’s Arizona Jeans and Macy’s Charter Club, to stock alongside its Levi’s and Donna Karan. According to the Oakland, California, group Sweatshop Watch, approximately 32 percent of women’s apparel sold in the U.S. is manufactured under private labels. And some of it is done well, but many times retailers aren’t interested in getting knee deep in all the minutiae of manufacturing, so they end up going to people called jobbers, who may give the impression that they are factory owners when they are not. Jobbers, says Rodriguez, are typically former manufacturers who closed their own factories because there were too many regulations, lawsuits, and labor problems to deal with. They still had the contacts and knowledge of the business, so they became middlemen, eliminating the risk of actually owning a factory. As a result, retailers think they are doing business directly with the factories but they are not, he says. They establish these relationships with these people who closed down their factories years ago. [Jobbers] have their own network of subcontractors now, so they take the orders from the major retailers. They do not have a factory, but they know how to take the orders; they have the contacts with the retail world. They take half a slice of that profit but they do not pass that along to the contractors, so it never gets to the rightful place where it should be.school of fashion design – boston Ltf

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