The factory fire: Global commerce, local tragedy

In the charred bones of the Tazreen Fashions Ltd. factory, the labels and logos - sewn and printed in scarlet and royal blue - beckon from the ashes. Even in ruins, there's no missing that these T-shirts and jeans were intended for U.S. stores and shopping carts, designed as bargains too good to pass up, or stocking stuffers just in time for the holidays and in just the right size.But a week after the blaze outside Bangladesh's capital killed 112 workers, a glaring question remains unanswered: How, exactly, did brands worth fortunes end up in such a place? And what does the odyssey that brings them to market across thousands of miles say about the everyday economics most consumers take for granted?Retailers and marketers whose clothes were found in the embers, including Wal-Mart, Sears and Disney, are carefully vague in explaining why that was the case. But piecing together the information they provide with records and the insight of apparel and sourcing experts reveals a complex and ever-morphing supply chain, in which Tazreen was just an interchangeable link.It is a chain whose combination of ultra-low labor costs, maximum flexibility and delegated authority offers undeniable advantages. But it is also comes with considerable risk.\A lot of people go into the store and see `Made in China' or Bangladesh or India or whatever and it's almost like this magical thing

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