Why California’s drought is bad news for LA fashion industry

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Sean Zahedi stands next to one of his knitting machines at Lafayette Textiles in Vernon. “My father used to have his own dye house. But because of rising labor costs, environmental regulations and water, it moved to Nicaragua,” he says. Photo by Benjamin Gottlieb.

Manufacturing jobs in California have migrated overseas in a race to the bottom on wages and regulations. It’s been happening for years. But now many industries face a new challenge: They depend on access to cheap endless water, and California's future looks increasingly dry. Textile factory owners are among the first to ask: Will we adapt or quit?