Thursday, August 20, 2009

Designed in Australia, Made in China, From Australian Fabric

This is what it says on the tag of Bonds underwear. And I'm still trying to figure out what Pacific Brands, the owner of Bonds, wants us to feel when we read this.

As far as I'm aware the only thing a manufacturer is required to state is the country of manufacture. So it would be that Pacific Brands, has made a conscious decision to tell the customer it's designed in Australia and uses Australian fabric.

To me, a cynical marketer, it says that, "we (Bonds) like to design our garments in Australia and Australian fabric is good quality so we'll use that, but as for manufacturing, well any old shmuck can do that so we'll get it cheap as chips in China."

Pacific Brands has a responsibility to its shareholders, I can't disagree there, but with all the devastating news of textile factories closing continuing, to have this written on the tag of Bonds clothing is a bit of a slap in the face to all the previously employed Australian workers. It says that labour cost savings is the only reason they're out of a job.

I see it happening more and more, brands trying to eek out any bit of Australian connection left in their multi-national businesses. I just wonder if the nationalism is wearing a little thin (sorry about the pun).

What do you think Pacific Brands is trying to say with this tag?


Halans said...

Like that other company, "Designed in California"...
Inevitable I guess. We can bitch about it, but our wallet talks (we're still buying it).

Alex of Melbourne said...

You're right there! The wallet does talk. No way of getting around that one.

Stephen said...

It comes down to choice. Bonds choose to manufacture in China, others choose to manufacture in Australia. Shoppers have the choice to buy either. The problem is how do you find the Australian made things. helps shoppers and business to find the Asutrralian made alternative.

Alex Manchester said...

I'd say it's trying to limit the impression. Before you used to see "Made in Australia" and that was it.

Now if you just saw "Made in China".... so to me it seems like they're trying to soften the blow to their brand.

Not that it really matters. As Stephen says, there's still a choice available.

I do wonder, though, did Pacific Brands ever give that money back that they got for new machinery. KRudd wasn't happy about the move to China when they'd pocketed $15 million in government grants not long ago.