La Alameda from Argentina
La Alameda first emerged as a community kitchen in 2001, during Argentina's severe economic crisis. It served many undocumented Bolivian workers who had escaped the garment industry sweatshops that had mushroomed in Buenos Aires.
La Alameda's repeated complaints about the dismal working conditions, in addition to a tragic accident at one of the sweatshops in which six people died -- five of them children --, finally focused public attention on slave labour, which in Argentina largely involves undocumented immigrants.
Dignity Returns of Thailand
Meanwhile, halfway across the world in Thailand, a group of women laid off without compensation by the Bed and Bath company when their factory shut down founded the Solidarity Factory cooperative, which later became Dignity Returns.
The members of Dignity Returns say that the factory made clothing for brands including Nike, Gap and Reebok, and that they were forced to work extremely long hours. To add insult to injury, their wages were docked if they complained about fatigue
"No Chains" Trade Mark T-Shirts
La Alameda from Argentina and Dignity Returns from Thailand will start selling thousands of T-shirts bearing several different designs under the "No Chains" trademark. They ultimately plan to produce additional clothing items in association with other cooperatives. The first products will be simple and affordable, mostly t-shirts in the $12-$15 range
The cooperatives held an international contest for T-shirt designs, and of the six winning motifs, two came from Argentina, and one each from Hong Kong, Indonesia, South Korea and the United States. The cooperatives began production in time to meet the launch date, and the idea is to distribute the clothing by consignment through various non-governmental organisations and trade unions