Investigation reportedly finds that workers subcontracted to make clothes for Fashion Nova are paid illegally low wages

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Investigation reportedly finds that workers subcontracted to make clothes for Fashion Nova are paid illegally low wages

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Fashion NovaFashion NovaFashion Nova is known for its ultra-cheap clothing.
  • Fashion Nova was reportedly called out in an investigation by the US Department of Labor after it was found that dozens of factories making clothing for the brand were paying workers illegally low wages.
  • According to The New York Times' Natalie Kitroeff, who first reported on this investigation, the US Department of Labor met with representatives at Fashion Nova earlier this year to discuss its findings.
  • A spokesperson for Fashion Nova did not immediately return Business Insider's request for comment. The company told The Times that "any suggestion that Fashion Nova is responsible for underpaying anyone working on our brand is categorically false."
  • The investigation reveals the dark side of the subcontracted manufacturing process, which is common in the fast-fashion world and often means retailers don't have to take responsibility for the people who are actually making their products.
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Fashion Nova has become one of the most talked-about brands on the internet thanks to its ultra-fast, ultra-cheap business model that promises to bring new styles from the design floor to the point of sale in under 48 hours. It's a speedy turnaround that the company claims it is able to offer by working with manufacturers that are located close to its headquarters in Los Angeles.

Ongoing investigations by federal officials, which were first reported by The New York Times' Natalie Kitroeff on Monday, reveal the dark side of its Los Angeles manufacturing network.

According to The Times, the US Department of Labor found that dozens of factories that were subcontracted by companies that work directly with Fashion Nova to produce its clothing were found to owe $3.8 million in back wages to hundreds of employees and that some workers were paid as little at $2.77 an hour for their work.

A spokesperson for Fashion Nova was not immediately available to comment when contacted by Business Insider but confirmed in a statement to The Times that the company met with the Department of Labor to discuss the findings of its investigation.

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"We have already had a highly productive and positive meeting with the Department of Labor in which we discussed our ongoing commitment to ensuring that all workers involved with the Fashion Nova brand are appropriately compensated for the work they do," Erica Meierhans, Fashion Nova's general counsel, told The Times.

She added: "Any suggestion that Fashion Nova is responsible for underpaying anyone working on our brand is categorically false."

Meierhans told The Times that Fashion Nova works with hundreds of manufacturers and "is not responsible for how these vendors handle their payrolls."

Her comments reveal the dark side of the subcontracted manufacturing process, which is common in the fast-fashion world and often means retailers don't have to take responsibility for the people who are actually making their products.

According to The Times, Fashion Nova enlists companies to design and create its samples, and these companies will then subcontract out the manufacturing process.

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A designer at one of the companies that it works with, called Amante Clothing, which subcontracts out to other factories, told The Times that she didn't know "what [the subcontractors] do to give us the lowest price. We assume they're paying their employees the minimum."

Other suppliers said in interviews with The Times that they are under pressure from Fashion Nova to get items turned around quickly at the lowest price, which pushes them to search for the cheapest and quickest way to have these items made.

A spokesperson for the US Department of Labor was not immediately available to comment when contacted by Business Insider.

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