EASIER SAID

Ivanka Trump, champion of working women, hasn’t done much for those making her brand’s clothes

Obsession
"America First"
Obsession
"America First"

Donald Trump’s “America first” agenda pressures companies to keep jobs in the United States while Ivanka Trump’s business—like nearly all apparel businesses in the US—extensively outsources the production of its pants, shoes, blouses, leather bags and other products.

An investigative report from the Washington Post traced shipments of Ivanka Trump-branded goods using US customs logs and international shipping records. It found the company relies on factories in countries including Bangladesh, Indonesia and China.

Ivanka Trump’s business practices contradict her father’s agenda. But they also contradict her own.

Earlier this year, Ivanka published a book aimed at working women in which she described “inspiring and empowering women who work” as “my mission throughout my entire career.” She told a group of women in Saudi Arabia this spring that her goal is “to help empower women in the United States and around the globe.” She’s positioned herself as an advocate for women in the workplace.

Almost all apparel companies in the US outsource manufacturing. But the Ivanka Trump brand lags behind others in the apparel industry when it comes to monitoring and improving the conditions for its factory workers. According to the Post report:

From big brands such as Adidas and Kenneth Cole to smaller, newer players like California-based Everlane, many US clothing companies have in recent years made protecting factory workers abroad a priority—hiring independent auditors to monitor labor conditions, pressing factory owners to make improvements and providing consumers with details about the overseas facilities where their goods are produced.

But the Trump brand has taken a more hands-off approach. Although executives say they have a code of conduct that prohibits physical abuse and child labor, the company relies on its suppliers to abide by the policy.

Hundreds of clothing lines and manufacturers have funded efforts to improve the safety of factories in Bangladesh. Yet neither the Ivanka Trump brand or the clothing distributor from which it licenses some production has contributed.

Ivanka’s company doesn’t inspect the factories where its workers produce its clothes, nor does it, like some other small apparel brands, hire a third-party company to do so. The company does not publish a list of factories that produce its goods, a trend among apparel companies. It told the Post it has no plans to do so.

Company executives told the Post that the brand may hire a third-party workers’ rights group to oversee production and improve factory conditions. Ivanka Trump herself did not respond to the Post for comment about what efforts she’d made to “oversee the company’s supply chain” before she left day-to-day involvement with the company in order to join her father’s administration.

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