Segments in this Video

Los Angeles Fashion District Footage (03:58)


María grew up up on a ranch in Mexico and moved to the U.S. at 18. She began working at a garment factory where she was locked in and not allowed to eat or take restroom breaks. She brought work home, often falling asleep at her machine.

Recalling the Past (04:04)

Lupe and her sister are both undocumented workers at a garment factory in L.A. Maura reminisces about her life in El Salvador. At age 22 she moved to the U.S. to support her three children who she left behind with her parents.

Jobs of Exploitation (03:06)

Undocumented workers who do not speak English are only able to get strenuous jobs that pay very little. They are hired as domestic workers, day laborers, and garment workers because these jobs do not require papers or experience.

Unfair Working Conditions (02:37)

Marua remembers the day she was fired and not paid for the work she had done. Undocumented garment workers attend a meeting to learn about the rights of all workers under California law. Long hours and low pay are the biggest complaints.

Cycle of Necessity (02:28)

Undocumented workers in L.A. began coming into the Garment Workers' Center complaining about owed wages and injuries on the job. They had all worked for Forever 21. The owner of the company denied responsibility when contacted by workers.

National Boycott against Forever 21 (02:14)

Garment workers in L.A. filed a lawsuit against Forever 21 alleging unfair labor practices. When people start to organize they stop being victims. Their first protest was covered on the news. Workers were afraid of losing their jobs.

Potential Impact on Fashion Industry (02:01)

When garment workers filed a lawsuit against Forever 21 for unpaid wages the company denied any responsibility as a retailer. The lawsuit alleges that Forever 21 systematically demanded and perpetuated sweat shop conditions.

Women Tell Their Stories (04:12)

Lupe moved to L.A. to work in the garment industry when she was 17 because conditions at home in Mexico City were so bad. María speaks to students at UCLA about women laborers and the Forever 21 boycott.

Life of a Protester (03:19)

María and Lupe feel comfortable when they are with the other laborers at the Garment Worker's Center. They work during the week and attend protests on the weekend. Protesters visit the home of the president of Forever 21.

Intimidation Tactics (02:05)

The judge dismissed the garment workers' case against Forever 21 who filed a counter-suit for defamation. They company claimed the garment workers were never their employees. Workers were afraid of being fired or deported.

Forever 21 Boycott National Publicity (03:05)

The garment workers travel the U.S. to teach the public about their cause. Maura shares her story with students at Georgetown University. She speaks about being humiliated but forced to keep working out of necessity.

National Forever 21 Boycott (01:37)

Garment workers speak with an assistant store manager in Baltimore. The store manager refuses to speak with the protesters.

Country of Immigrants (02:50)

Garment workers visit the apartment of an early America immigrant family who did garment work in sweatshop conditions. They also visit the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Lupe takes notes to share at the Garment Workers' Center in L.A.

Giving Up the Fight (01:52)

María's husband will not let her leave L.A. to participate in the national campaign to protest Forever 21. She teaches her children the importance of education.

Road to America (02:20)

The garment workers are growing tired after 13 months of protest. Maura's children are moving from El Salvador to live with her after 18 years apart. She remembers coming to the U.S. with the help of a coyote. She is afraid for her children.

No Campaign Progress (03:19)

After 15 months of protesting the garment workers are still waiting for a date for their appeal. At the Garment Workers' Center they argue over who will shout into the megaphone. They are no longer united and are considering giving up.

Losing Hope (04:01)

María stopped going to the Garment Workers' Center to avoid problems with her husband. After 21 months of protesting workers are getting burnt out. Maura's children have gone missing on their way to the U.S.

Two Years of Protesting (03:35)

Lupe is applying for the position of organizer at the Garment Workers' Center. Maura learns her children were arrested in Mexico and returned to El Salvador. María split from her husband and returned to the center.

Uniting Garment Workers (03:38)

Lupe was hired as an organizer at the Garment Workers' Center. She explains the "pyramid of power" to other workers. Lupe returns to Mexico City to reflect on where she came from.

Appeal Verdict (02:46)

After 26 months of protesting the garment workers won the right to sue Forever 21. They are optimistic about the outcome. Workers march in the streets and tell their stories on the radio. Forever 21 agreed to meet for settlement negotiations.

Signed Settlement Agreement (04:48)

After 36 months of protest Forever 21 has come to an agreement with garment workers. A joint statement says "Garment workers should labor in lawful conditions and should be treated fairly and with dignity

One Year Later (03:48)

María is still doing garment work, but only in eight hour shifts. The work is scarce because factories are being moved overseas. Maura is taking English class so she can find a better job. Lupe traveled to Hong Kong to protest the World Trade Center.

Credits: Made in L.A. (01:53)

Credits: Made in L.A.

For additional digital leasing and purchase options contact a media consultant at 800-257-5126
(press option 3) or

Made in L.A.

3-Year Streaming Price: $199.95



In 2001 three of the Latina immigrants working in a Los Angeles garment factory, fed up with its low wages and poor working conditions, began to speak out. Through a groundbreaking class-action lawsuit and consumer boycott, the women established an important legal and moral precedent holding Forever 21, a popular American retailer, liable for the labor conditions under which its products are manufactured. This program tells their story, providing an insider’s view into the struggles of recent immigrants and into the organizing process itself: the enthusiasm, discouragement, hard-won victories, and ultimate self-empowerment. (70 minutes)

Length: 70 minutes

Item#: BVL49785

Copyright date: ©2007

Closed Captioned

Reviews & Awards

2008 Emmy Award—Outstanding Continuing Coverage of a News Story, Long Form

2008 Henry Hampton Award for Excellence in Film & Digital Media

“A rousing true story of solidarity, perseverance, and triumph…deftly interweaving legal battles, national boycotts, group dynamics, and individual empowerment, offering a personalized history lesson in class struggle.” —Variety

“Offers a vital look at the world of poor laborers, along the way illuminating some of the myriad complexities of the immigration issue. Highly recommended.” —Video Librarian

“An excellent documentary…” —The New York Times

“A valuable and moving film—and entertaining as well.” —Los Angeles Times

“A combative documentary, full of humanity, that describes the personal development and professional struggle of a group of immigrants to make their rights be heard in the face of the brutal textile industry in Los Angeles.” —EL PAÍS

“A heartrending and inspiring documentary about the incessant struggle of undocumented garment workers against a powerful company in Los Angeles.” —La Jornada

Performance Rights

Prices include public performance rights.

Not available to Home Video and Dealer customers.

Only available in USA and Canada.