According to The New York Times, Fashion Nova — Instagram’s star fast-fashion outlet / plagiarist extraordinaire — is allegedly using Los Angeles’s most off-the-books, most sweatshop-adjacent factories to pump out their absurdly cheap designs.
Per the story, the company is known for being capable of producing styles in “less than two weeks” in LA, but a four-year US Department of Labor Investigation found that the “ugly secret behind the brand’s runaway success” are garments “stitched together by a work force… paid illegally low wages.”
Considering the brand’s average price point and it’s claimed two-week turnaround time, this shouldn’t come as a surprise, but it’s good to have it on record — especially when those factories “paid their sewers as little as $2.77 an hour” and were reportedly infested with cockroach and rats.
As is standard practice for companies whose business model requires a shield against allegations of wrongdoing, Fashion Nova “does not deal directly with factories,” the Times said. Instead, they place “bulk orders with companies that design the clothes and then ship fabric to separately owned sewing contractors, where workers stitch the clothes together and stick Fashion Nova’s label on them.”
Unfortunately for Fashion Nova, those labels were “the ones found the most frequently by federal investigators looking into garment factories that pay egregiously low wages.” In fact, “over four years, the brand’s clothes had been found in 50 investigations of factories paying less than the federal minimum wage or failing to pay overtime.”
And we really are talking criminally low wages, here. One worker reported receiving “about 4 cents to sew on each sleeve, 5 cents for each of the side seams, 8 cents for the seam on the neckline” and, on average, “she earned $270 in a week, the equivalent of $4.66 an hour” for a seven-day work-week.
“Consumers can say, ‘Well, of course that’s what it’s like in Bangladesh or Vietnam,’ but they are developing countries,” one US Labor Department official said. “People just don’t want to believe it’s true in their own backyard.”
You can read more about it at The New York Times.