Category Archives: Textile Industry

Dressing America: Tales from the Garment Center

Directors: Steven Fischler, Joel Sucher
Writer: Joel Sucher
60 Minutes

This captivating documentary braids past and present, tracing the technological and financial changes in the US garment industry. Rich in ethnic and labor history, Dressing America illustrates the impact of corporate competition, outsourcing, and deunionization on an industry where small and family shops were once prevalent.


Men of the Cloth

Director: Vicki Vasilopoulos
96 Minutes

Men of the Cloth is an inspiring portrait of Nino Corvato, Checchino Fonticoli and Joe Centofanti, three Italian master tailors who confront the decline of the apprentice system as they navigate their challenging roles in the twilight of their career. The film unravels the mystery of their artistry and reveals how their passionate devotion to their Old World craft is akin to a religion.
–Written by Vicki Vasilopoulos



Tangled Threads

“Tangled Threads” chronicles labor rights activist Kalpona Akter’s organizing efforts in Bangladesh’s garment industry before and after the Rana Plaza building collapse, which claimed the lives of at least 1,138 garment workers. It does so against the backdrop of two very different worlds: New York’s modeling industry, on the one hand, and Bangladesh’s garment industry, on the other. Produced by STZFilms.

Directed by: Sara Ziff

Sara Ziff is a New York-based filmmaker, fashion model, and labor activist. She co-directed and produced the feature documentary “Picture Me” (2009), which shed light on labor issues in the modeling industry, particularly sexual abuse. Currently she serves as co-founder and executive director of the Model Alliance, a nonprofit labor group for models working in the American fashion industry. Ziff first traveled to Bangladesh in 2012, when she began collaborating with the Bangladesh Center for Worker Solidarity (BCWS) and the International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF) to try to organize workers across fashion’s supply chain.




Tears in the Fabric

A Documentary Film and Resource Website by Rainbow Collective and Openvizor. In Savar, Bangladesh, Razia struggles to raise two grandchildren after losing her daughters in the Rana Plaza factory collapse, a disaster which claimed the lives of over 1000 garment workers. One year on, Tears in the Fabric follows Razia as, amidst the struggle of raising and educating her grandsons, she searches for resolution and answers through protest on the streets of Dhaka and amongst the rubble and torn fabrics of Rana Plaza. Tears in the Fabric offers a starkly honest and deeply moving view of the human cost of high street fashion.

Directed by: The Rainbow Collective, UK!tears-in-the-fabric/c1zdc



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The Machinists (2010)


Directed by: Hannan Majid and Richard York
Documentary Feature (52 minutes)

In the teeming city neighborhoods of Bangladesh, young women work 15 hour days. In dangerous and dirty conditions, they make high fashion clothes for Europe and the USA. Their children suffer, their parents suffer and yet they find the will to fight back and organize a union. These women just suffered the worst factory fire disaster since the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire in NYC over 100 years ago. Over 112 killed in one fire, with 7 more only weeks later.


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Triangle Shirtwaist Fire


Al Jazeera World : Revolution Through Arab Eyes – The Factory

A glimpse into life inside Egypt’s Mahalla textile factory – a place renowned as a cauldron of revolt where striking workers first inspired the Egyptian uprising.


Stitched Together: Students, and the Movement for Alta Gracia (2012)

28:43; U.S.

Director: Will Delphia

Synopsis: A documentary film examining the Alta Gracia factory in the Dominican Republic, a new college apparel company attempting to challenge the sweatshop model of production by creating a factory with living wages, good working conditions, and an independent trade union.

Full Film


The Uprising of ’34 (1995)

87m; U.S.

Director: George Stoney, Judith Helfand & Susanne Rostock

Synopsis: THE UPRISING OF ’34 tells the story of the General Strike of 1934, a massive but little-known strike by hundreds of thousands of Southern cotton mill workers during the Great Depression. The mill workers’ defiant stance – and the remarkable grassroots organizing that led up to it – challenged a system of mill owner control that had shaped life in cotton mill communities for decades.

Contact: First Run Icarus Films ( /



The Triangle Factory Fire Scandal (1979)

120m; U.S.

Director: Mel Stuart

Cast: David Dukes, Tovah Feldshuh and Lauren Frost

Synopsis (IMDB): The story of a fire in the Triangle Shirtwaist building in New York City in 1911 that resulted in the deaths of 146 employees, mostly young women. The ensuing investigation revealed the company’s almost total disregard for its workers’ safety in pursuit of increased production and profits, and resulted, among other things, in the passage of new worker safety laws.