Armani, Saint Laurent, Fendi Linked to Italian Sweatshop

According to Reuters, police in Naples just raided a sweatshop that was found to be producing goods for “some of Europe’s best-known luxury groups.”

Per the story, “Italian authorities arrested the boss of a company in the southern city of Naples that employed dozens of undocumented workers allegedly making leathergoods” for brands like “Armani, Kering’s Saint Laurent and LVMH’s Fendi.”

When police raided the workshop, “some 50 workers, including a pregnant woman and two teenagers were hiding in a storeroom among rolls of leather and piles of shoes and bags before being found and brought out.”

The factory boss’ lawyer somehow simultaneously claimed innocence, but then also blamed big brands for being cheap, saying that the “manufacturing district around Melito is seen as China, where production is decentralized from European industry due to low costs and poor workers’ rights.”

The brands, predictably, denied any knowledge of the sweatshop being a part of their supply chains – despite it being right in their own backyards.

But as the story said, “the case highlighted the murky world of sweatshop labor and fly-by-night subcontractors that lies behind many areas of the industry, which draws heavily on the cachet of the “Made in Italy” brand.”

“The production chain at times is too long. It happens that the original suppliers subcontract to other companies, without the brands knowing,” said one source — although it’s a little hard to buy into that narrative when the factory is driving distance away.

You can read more about it at Reuters.

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