Pioneering Spanish clothing co-op closes

Confecciones Corcubión was formed in the 1980s to offer better working conditions during a fashion industry boom

Confecciones Corcubión, the last remaining clothing manufacturing co-op on the Costa da Morte in Galicia, north west Spain has ceased operation after more than 30 years.

The co-op, which was formed during the fashion industry boom in the region, made children’s clothes for Inditex, the Spanish fashion giant that owns chains including Zara, Bershka and Oysho.

The closure came about after a change in management at Inditex which saw Confecciones Corcubión receive orders for women’s clothing which the worker members didn’t have the skills or machinery to produce. The co-op will officially be dissolved at the end of the month.

“They’re a clothing production line. They are not seamstresses, they do not know how to make patterns, they have been doing the same work year after year,” said Galician Co-operative Union’s Mar Pernas of the co-op’s skills gap. “Many of the members have been doing the same work for years, and they don’t have training beyond that.”

Confecciones Corcubión was one of the pioneering co-ops that sprung up in the late 1980 as part of the fashion boom when Inditex based in the Galician municipality of Arteixo was in need of labour.

Sewing machine workshops proliferated in the region, staffed by women from small local towns, many of them with very poor working conditions, bringing about the need for co-operatives.

The co-op, however, was beset with problems over the years, and attributes its closure to the culmination of a number of difficulties.

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