Spanish Harlem Sweatshop by Phil Decker
Street Scene outside Allison's Dress Manufacturing Company
in Spanish Harlem
Piles of Work
This photo essay of Allison's Dress Manufacturing Company was created in Spanish Harlem, the Puerto Rican neighborhood I lived in during 1984, while studying at the International Center of Photography in New York City.
To Do List
Discussion with the Boss
Making Her Point
Union Rep and Owners Meeting
The sweatshop was located on the third floor of a warehouse, tucked into a residential neighborhood. About fifteen employees worked sewing and ironing dresses. The workers were mostly all immigrants from Puerto Rico. It was amazed to see how little factory conditions had changed, despite decades of struggles for better working conditions. In this photo essay I tried to portray individuals at work as well as the supportive community workers had created, to help each other get through the day.
Taking a Break
Hidden Behind the Dresses
Stairway Entrance to the Sweatshop
Text and photos © Phil Decker