July 18, 2021 – Los Angeles, CA – Factory Visit
Nana Atelier is a woman-led, small batch production facility located in downtown Los Angeles, California. Through and through, they are an outlier. From long term employment to waste management, Nana Atelier is a constant inspiration as they redefine ethical production, prove why it's necessary, and show its real value to society. The team currently makes our sweatshirts, and is developing our bags and jackets.
The core idea of Nana Atelier's work is that a garment worker is as valuable as other positions in fashion's supply chain including designers, models, and customer service representatives. Garment production requires skilled and labor-intensive work, and the speed at which garments are made is frequently exploited by way of overwork and undercompensation. In fact, UCLA found that in Los Angeles, garment workers are paid an average of $5.15 per hour. This is often achieved legally through a piece-rate structure, in which workers are paid cents for each seam they stitch. Because employees are not paid hourly, wage theft becomes prominent. In contrast, in Nana Atelier's intro to Embracing Transparency, Social Responsibility, and Circularity, they state:
Instead of pushing for this speed and volume, we value our team’s skills and expertise. Our Operations Manager and Floor Manager are mindful of the work load, speed and expectations of each of our team members. We do not engage in piecework. We do not believe in pushing for unreasonable speed to make up our margins. We treat our facility not as an input-output machine but as a team of human hands with valued skills. We strive for a healthy professional work environment that is trusting, caring, and nurturing for our entire team. We take pride in our love of the craft and the appreciation of the artistry of our work.
So... what policies does Nana Atelier institute in order to create an empowering work environment?