Sunday, August 12, 2007

Fashion has no mercy

Investigations by The Sunday Times have suggested that the Kate Moss TopShop clothing range is being put together by workers in slave-like conditions:

Workers making [Topshop] clothes, many of whom were fearful of talking to a reporter, described how they are kept in crowded dormitories and work from 7am until late. “When I go to bed at the end of the day, I lay down and weep,” said one woman.

“There is a lot of pressure on us to get our targets. If we do not reach the target of 50 pieces [segments of T-shirts] per hour, then we are sent back to our dormitories and suspended,” she claimed.

The woman, a Bangladeshi worker at Compagnie Mauricienne de Textile (CMT), which makes clothes for Topman, said she had to work 12-hour days for £64 a month.

A worker at Star Knitwear, which makes T-shirts for the Topshop Kate Moss range, said they were paid £112 a month - equivalent to about 40p an hour. The T-shirts are sold in Topshop for £12.

Topshop's Philip Green said he took the allegations "seriously":
I sent inspectors to factories to look at the working conditions, to see that they are not working in sweat-shops, that the working conditions are good. I can’t stand there and count how many hours people are working. Last night I interviewed a woman who was there four weeks ago. She said the factory was in excellent shape.

“You are telling me that factories are happy to breach our code of conduct. I’ve got to look into it.”

Moss, meanwhile, was "unavailable for comment".


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