No sweat

No sweat

Each garment knits a story - that of a nameless, faceless worker in a far-flung locale, sewing a piece of clothing that will soon find its way onto the stylish back of some city- dweller.

But recent accidents plaguing factories in Bangladesh and Cambodia have prompted home-grown fashion brands to take a closer look at where - and how - their pieces are made.

In April, a garment factory in Bangladesh collapsed, killing more than 1,000 workers. An accident in a Cambodian factory last month injured more than 20 workers.

To avoid "sweatshop-like conditions", local designers such as Esther Tay say going on a recce trip before signing contracts with manufacturers is a must.

Tay visits Chinese cities such as Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Shanghai, and Batam in Indonesia, where her designs are made.

Once there, she scours the factory to suss out working conditions and employees' dormitories, and speaks to its managers and workers.

"It is quite hard to tell a 'good' factory from a 'bad' one, but if workers are happy and take pride in their work, it comes through," says Tay, 59, who runs corporate wear brand Esta.

The brand designs uniforms for companies such as Scoot and Resorts World Sentosa.

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