One of the best things about Forever 21 is the fact that you can get trendy looks for an incredibly affordable price, however a recent investigation has revealed why the bargain retailer prices items so inexpensively. It’s being reported that Forever 21 is using sweatshops here in the U.S. to manufacture the company’s clothing. What’s even more disturbing is the alarmingly low rate that workers are being paid.
Also revealed in the investigation which led to factories in Southern California, is that along with Forever 21 other bargain retailers such as TJ Maxx and Ross Dress for Less were found to use sweatshops as well. It shouldn’t be that surprising, given the extreme inexpensive nature of Forever 21 and other brands, that these companies would outsource manufacturing at such a low price. However it is still disturbing and unacceptable to not offer workers a decent living wage. Cosmopolitan has further details about this investigation and more.
Yesterday, the Los Angeles Times reported that garment workers at some factories in Southern California were earning as little as $4 an hour making clothes for brands like Forever 21, Ross Dress for Less, and TJ Maxx. That is less than half of the state-mandated hourly minimum wage of $10. The report was the result of an investigation by the California Department of Labor, which looked into the labor practices of 77 independent factories in Southern California. Labor violations were found in 85 percent of cases and those companies were ordered to pay their workers $1.3 million in lost wages and damages. However, because the Labor Department can only penalize companies that directly employ workers, the retailers themselves, including Macy’s and Nordstrom, avoided any repercussions.
“This business model [using independent factories to produce their goods] has shielded them from any legal responsibility,” said Ruben Rosalez, a regional administrator with the Labor Department. “The retailers are setting the prices. They’re saying, ‘Make this shirt for this amount,’ but it’s the workers at the end of the chain that are getting screwed.”
In an email to the Los Angeles Times, a Forever 21 representative denied any responsibility for the conditions under which their clothes are made and said the company “takes these issues very seriously, and requires all of its vendors to comply with these laws.” What they did not say was whether or not they would continue working with these factories or increase the prices they pay their manufacturers.
It should be interesting to see if this new development will affect the holiday shopping season, when consumers tend to buy in large quantities and are heavily tempted by sale prices. Tell us beauties, does this change your opinion of these brands?
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