The Fabric market of Guangzhou supplies the worlds fashion markets with every conceivable fabric there is on the planet. This is the story of the people that work in the fabric market to bring fabrics to the world. This is a story of the people that have made many people wealthy but continue to work under hard circumstances. This is their story. These are the king makers.
On a very busy Friday afternoon to curriers collide in the busy intersection of the fabric market. An argument ensued as to who was at fault voices raised to a frustration point. Then pushing and shoving. The young man attacks the older man, fists flying! His friends join in and attack the older currier. Police intervened. Everyone got on their cell phones to tell everyone they were going to be late.
A frenzy of activity in the fabric market is a good sign that the economy is in good shape.
Off the main streets we walk into the village. The village is made up of twisting dark narrow streets. Here people live and work in small family owned shops, doing all the ancillary work for the bigger factories that need buttons, lace, etc.
A Hunan woman sewing wedding dress lace told me that working in the village was preferable to working in the factories. The wages were about the same. But there was more freedom in the village.
All day long, men and women on their 3 wheeled ecarts transport fabric back and forth from the market to the village.
There are many small factories in the village. Everyday bosses hang out on the bridge that separates two villages with a blackboard advertising for skilled people that can handle machinery.
There is no day care for the hundreds and thousands of factory and migrant workers in China. Mothers from the rural villages of Hunan and Sichuan start out as single girls looking for a better life in Guangzhou. End up pregnant and then maybe married, they discover that without a family to help and support them their options become severely limited with children. Here a mother is on her way home with her two children in tow.