Veteran-owned clothing brand says it discovered one of its suppliers uses cotton from slave labor region
A veteran-owned clothing brand put one of its suppliers on discover after it was allegedly utilizing cotton from a slave labor region in China.
Tyler Merritt, veteran and CEO of Nine Line Apparel, joined “Fox & Friends” to share why he conducts isotopic testing on cloth to find out the place it comes from and why he needs his merchandise to return from sustainable sources.
“It’s very similar to a DNA test. So, it compares isotopes from a region in Xinjiang, China– This is a region where people are forced to work indefinitely for the simple fact of being born a Muslim– So, we test this material, and we’ve identified that Next Level apparel, doing business as YS Garments, which is the country… the importer of record… you know, that’s what came back consistent with Xinjiang cotton, not once, but a second time that we tested at a different lot, a different batch from a different distribution center came back as being consistent as well” he mentioned.
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The Chinese Communist Party reportedly uses Xinjiang, a northwestern region in China, to detain Uyghur Muslims in detention camps and topics them to situations of compelled labor, based on the U.S. Department of Labor.
Merritt mentioned his firm examined the material from its different suppliers, however it didn’t have the “consistency with this slave region.”
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He added that he spoke with the CEO of Next Level, a wholesaler producer and vendor of clean attire, who instructed him the corporate has a “zero tolerance policy” for forced labor however didn’t “elaborate really what that means.”
“And that’s what I’m doing here. You know, their lawyers have hit me up on a weekly, monthly basis telling me to stop testing, telling me to– essentially that they’ve got this under control. They’re going to do testing from here on out, and they’re going to self-govern. But that’s unacceptable to me,” Merrit instructed co-host Pete Hegseth.
Next Level instructed Fox News in a press release, “Forced labor is considered a zero-tolerance issue and any confirmed instances of forced labor by our suppliers with any factories and mills that produce garments, accessories or fabric, or use of cotton grown in Xinjiang may result in termination of the business relationship.”
Merritt shared that he would encourage different companies to search out out the place their stuff is being made.
“I take products like Next Level and I relabel them not just for myself, but for our partners. I do private labels for some of my military units. I do it for church groups and school groups that my kids go to. And a lot of people don’t realize that their product may derive from the slave trade. And these are church organizations or school groups that people who, you know, visit my stores that are extremely patriotic. And at the very least, we want ethical sourcing,” he mentioned.
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“We do look for USA-made, right? This hoodie is made in the US. This shirt is made in the U.S. Our product line is very wide and robust with USA-made options, but at the very least you need to pay humans in South America, Central America and Asia. It’s a minimal ethical standard. I think that everyone can get behind it. The CEOs of the companies that I work with have committed themselves to do so,” he mentioned.