Alexander Wang is known for his weathered Tees and dresses—but it’s the workers making his clothes who are feeling worn, due to apparent grueling working conditions. After reportedly enduring mistreatment in the form of unreasonable deadlines and unpaid overtime, 30 of Wang’s employees have filed a $50 million labour lawsuit against their employer.
This story reads like a scene out of Oliver Twist, with The New York Post reporting that the workers were “forced to work 16 hours a day or longer—without overtime—in a suffocating, windowless, 200-square-foot room.”
Wenyu Lu, one of the 30 employees of the New York studio, claims that he once fainted and was hospitalized for several days as a result of working a 25-hour day. He also had to “knit and perfect” a pair of leather trousers (a lengthy 12-hour process) in just four hours. According to Lu’s attorney, the company eventually fired him on February 16 after he filed for worker’s comp.
Wang, who reportedly earned $25 million in 2011, has been a shining beacon of success this early in his career. We only hope that his future is paved with more fairness and honesty.
Fashionista: “Perhaps the most bizarre and shocking news to come out of this fashion month.” [Fashionista]
NBC New York: “Whether the lawsuit moves forward or no, it’s safe to say that conflicts like these often accompany growing pains of a quickly expanding business.” [NBC New York]
Caitlan Moneta, fashion market editor: “Certainly makes me rethink putting those glossy leather coats on my must-have list for fall. The news really serves to put luxury market manufacturing under the microscope. If this turns out to be true, I hope it’s the catalyst that will expose other designers doing the same.”