Sunday, May 4, 2008

Oh Cotton Canada


Kvetching that the Canadian Olympic shmatas will be made in China is a marvelous example of crying after the horse has left the barn.

I grew up in the textile trades. Just about everyone in my family was in one way or another working in the manufacturing or selling of clothes. My grandfather sewed furs, my uncle Max owned most of the buttons, thread and zippers in Winnipeg, my Uncle Tom was the Head Tailor at The bay for 25 years - an authentic Gold Watch man. My mother was the bookkeeper for any number of clothing factories, my aunt, a secretary. Heck, I sold men's clothing at The Bay when I was in my teens.

And it is interesting to note that it is HBC - The Bay - the oldest company in Canada, is it not? - that has the Olympic contract.

But the glory days of Canadian textiles are as much history as Eatons and Woodwards. And no doubt for many of the same reasons - labor costs and world competition.

Having said all that it is still annoying and disappointing to see HBC not try a little harder, be a little more creative in trying to find ways to have these products Made in Canada.

I suspect nothing will resuscitate what has been for some time now a moribund industry, but wearing Canadian products and being able to boast of it would have added a note or two of much needed Canadian pride.

Oh, well, perhaps we can make up for that on the playing fields.

Perhaps the performance enhancing drugs that will carry our athletes to the podiums will be hatched in secret Canadian home labs.


anonamoose said...

These clothes could be made in Canada, but there is more profit for HBC by making the Olympic duds in China.

Anonymous said...

DAGOLI is a Vancouver (Canadian) company that makes sportswear. Have their own factory, too.

SOUTH COAST CASUALS in Ladner sells Canadian made clothing.

Fashion industry is moving right along in Quebec.

Think this contract was simply awarded to insider "friends."

Anonymous said...

David - Your mentioning the connection your family has to the Winnipeg textile trades brought back memories. I did the bookkeeping and looked after a one gal office in the Main/McDermot area years ago in a company owned by a couple of fellows who made all the military and postal workers hats/caps plus a line of women's millinery (those were the days when a well dressed woman wore a hat and gloves when on the town). I got to do all my shopping "wholesale" and how much fun it was - "such a good deal" for great clothes and even our furniture when I got married. Winnipeg women were known as classy dressers for a damn good reason! Most of the stuff we get now is inferior in quality of material and workmanship.