“Everything that is done in this world is done by hope.” – M. Luther
For a basic sportswear seamster or seamstress in the developing world, the average wage is about $4/day. After transportation and lunch, take home pay is about $15 per six-day workweek. In Haiti, one of our primary producing countries, only about 20% of the population has formal employment. Consequently, each sewing operator supports 7-8 people with his or her meager $15/week wage. Although some employment is better than none, the combination of a poor work environment and rock-bottom earnings (to say the least) effectively strips workers and their families of the ability to dream.
THIS IS WHY RESTORATION APPAREL COMPANY EXISTS – to provide exceptional, decorated sportswear that customers can feel great about buying and wearing. RAC strives to create spaces and pay wages both at home and abroad that manufacture hope. On average, 2.5% of the wholesale price of apparel goes to all workers whose hands constructed a product in the developing world. For every purchase RAC makes that is not certified living wage, it gives an additional 5% back, effectively tripling the returns to frontline workers. On top of this, it does so at no added expense to its customers by offsetting the cost with low production overhead.
What is a living wage?
A living wage is the tipping point between an income level that deprives and one that leads to flourishing. In Haiti, we consider a living wage to be approximately $320 per month (Cost of Living Index). So, $15 per day for 23 days a month achieves this $320 standard. At RAC, we strive to ensure this level of remuneration for sewing operators. Much of our product is produced in our living wage factory in Haiti. If we cannot meet our customers’ garment style and preference needs there, we utilize ethical factories that will bonus their employees – in wage or benefits – for all goods made for RAC. In the case that these options will not work for our customers’ needs, we reserve a Wage Restitution Allowance on each garment sold.
What is a Wage Restitution Allowance?
For every apparel item purchased by Restoration Apparel Company that is not made in one of its certified living wage factories, it sets aside an additional 5% of the product’s wholesale price as a Wage Restitution Allowance. It then administers 100% of these funds directly to frontline workers in its hope-infused factory in Alexandria, Egypt.