View Full Version : Hell is China -- Made In Italy

Osborne Russell
09-22-2010, 02:49 PM
The Chinese government has found a way to avoid the problem of counterfeiting: just buy the factories in Italy, import the materials and the slaves -- presto, not counterfeit.

Fashion, of course, is largely about image, and even when buying low-end garb, many people are likely to gravitate toward clothes made in Italy, as images of Milan runways and seaside villas dance in their heads.

But as The New York Times reported recently, many of these clothes are actually made by low-paid, often undocumented Chinese workers laboring in an Italian shadow economy of factories (often Chinese-owned) that frequently open, close and change names to avoid government regulation.

It could almost be described as an inverted form of outsourcing–rather than moving garment production to China or other Asian countries, as a bulk of apparel-makers did in the past 30 years, Chinese workers are flooding Italian cities to make the clothes there.

For example, in the city of Prato near Milan, the Times notes:

The city is now home to the largest concentration of Chinese in Europe — some legal, many more not. Here in the heart of Tuscany, Chinese laborers work round the clock in some 3,200 businesses making low-end clothes, shoes and accessories, often with materials imported from China, for sale at midprice and low-end retailers worldwide.

There is one significant difference from the U.S. immigrant labor situation. The Chinese companies in Italy are, at least according to Italian officials, primarily launched and owned by Chinese entrepreneurs, perhaps even as part of a concerted campaign by the Chinese government.


Osborne Russell
10-15-2010, 01:34 PM
1. Prato, Italy, the largest Chinese city in Europe

The Chinese have stormed the citadel of Italian moda, the handsome city of Prato, near Florence, which for generations has been a bastion of Italian design. Today, quick fortunes are being made here by businessmen exploiting the "Italy" cachet and producing humdrum, mass-market clothes, shoes and accessories at rock-bottom prices. In the process, their critics claim that they are undermining a national brand that has been carefully nurtured since the Renaissance.

And that's not the only issue. Here in the heart of Tuscany,celebrated for its splendid countryside and climate, but also for its strong protection of workers' rights, thousands of Chinese are crammed into workshops, sometimes working for long stretches in the oppressive summer heat.

The Chinese began arriving in Prato in the early 1980s, and today there are more than 11,000 living legally in the city. But according to the mayor's office, more than twice that number live in the city illegally; Prato has the largest concentration of Chinese anywhere in Europe.


2. How John Malkovich tides himself over between films

John Malkovich is a renaissance man, of a very special sort. He’s an actor’s actor, with Oscar nominations for “Places in the Heart” and “In the Line of Fire,” and a resume of roles running from straight drama to slapstick to parodying himself in “Being John Malkovich.”

“I’ve always loved clothes and fabric and details,” he said. “I always liked to look at photos of dressed-up people when I was a kid. But not necessarily dressed up in a super glamorous way, just to see what people wore and how they presented themselves. I also studied costuming in the theater and I have a very specific notion of how a thing should or should not look.”

He’s currently working on Technobohemian’s newest collection. Based in Prato, Italy, the company will release its fourth line of menswear in fall/winter of 2011.


3. Get it at the Gap, kids

Gap focuses on international, online growth
The Associated Press October 14, 2010

Gap Inc. is opening stores in China and Italy as it expands internationally and online, the clothing seller said Thursday.


4. Perhaps a red Super Bowl? Like, red red.

The grimy facade of the Colosseum was bathed in a pleasing red light on Thursday night. Big white characters, obviously Chinese, were beamed onto the stadium’s upper reaches. They read: “Sino-Italian friendship.”

The usual throng of tourists at the Colosseum must have wondered what was going on. Had the Chinese government bought ad rights to Europe’s most famous building? In fact it was Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s way of welcoming Wen Jiabao, his Chinese counterpart, to Rome. The red was meant to be a communist red in his honour.

Mr. Wen wasn’t exactly a tourist, though it’s assumed Mr. Berlusconi took him for a spin around the Colosseum. The real agenda was investment and trade and possibly -- though this was not stated -- turning Italy into China’s European beachhead. We do know that the duo vowed to double bilateral trade to $200-billion (U.S.) by 2015, including investment flows.

. . . The Chinese have signalled they are serious about Italy in the long run by spending heavily on infrastructure, notably ports . . . Italy, of course, would like something else from China -- a steady buyer of its bonds. Italy is one of the world’s most heavily indebted countries and rolling over its bonds couldn’t be done without healthy buying interest from foreign investors. Mr. Wen earlier this week said China will continue to buy Greek bonds, signalling support for euro-zone debt. If the Chinese will buy junked-out Greek debt, you can assume they would be happy to load up on higher-rated Italian debt.


If we can rent the Super Bowl to McDonald's, why not to Red China?

Osborne Russell
10-15-2010, 04:54 PM
So they import Chinese ilegaly to Italy so they can put a "made in Italy" on the cloth peace?

Sounds easier to me to just make the clothes in China and fake the land of origin.

Yes, but this way both the Italians and the Chinese make money, and the goods are genuine. The label doesn't have to say "Made by Chinese Slaves in Italy", it just has to say "Made in Italy". Both statements are true, that's the beauty of it. China gets a dump for its excess population, Italy gets slaves.

It's also an anti-Mafia policy, because the Mafia makes huge money with counterfeit Italian goods, which ironically are made in Italy (Sicily) but are nonetheless counterfeit. The only way to beat the Mafia and cheap Sicilian labor is with Chinese slaves and the cooperation of the Italian government. Who knows, it might work. But some say the Mafia will make it back in slave trafficking.

Meanwhile the right-wing parties have a propaganda bonanza. It's one thing to have your job shipped to China; it's another thing for your job to stay here but get fired and watch your government import a Chinaman to take your place.

10-15-2010, 05:27 PM
Care to amend that racist statement Larry?

Phillip Allen
10-15-2010, 05:35 PM
Care to amend that racist statement Larry?

I think he was making a joke...don't be so trigger-happy

10-15-2010, 05:59 PM
You cannot say Black powder now?

Phillip Allen
10-15-2010, 06:04 PM
is it deliberate racism to accidently misread black powder?