WASHINGTON — The International Labor Rights Forum, a human and labor rights watchdog group, filed a formal complaint on Wednesday with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, seeking to have shipments of products containing cotton from Uzbekistan banned from the U.S. because of the country’s use of forced labor.
The ILRF complaint calls on Customs to issue an immediate detention order on all future and pending cotton goods manufactured by Daewoo International Corp., Indorama Corp. and other companies processing cotton in Uzbekistan. Daewoo International, a South Korea-based company owned by the steel manufacturer Posco, and Indorama Cotton, a Singapore-based multinational that produces yarn, fabrics and organic cotton products, are two of the largest processors of Uzbek cotton, according to the ILRF.
“For decades the government of Uzbekistan…has forced millions of children, teachers, nurses, doctors, public-sector workers and private-sector employees to pick cotton under appalling conditions,” the ILRF said. “Those who refuse are expelled from school, fired from their jobs, denied public benefits or worse. The government combines these penalties with threats, detains and tortures activists seeking to monitor the situation and continues to refuse the International Labor Organization’s efforts to monitor the cotton harvest.”
The watchdog group said Customs has the authority to deny the entry of goods at U.S. ports that contain inputs made with forced labor.
Uzbekistan has exported over 620 tons of cotton yarn and fabric to the U.S. since 2008, the ILRF said, citing U.S. government figures. Commerce Department and U.S. International Trade Commission data indicate at least 23 tons of cotton yarn from Uzbekistan entered the U.S. in February 2013 alone.
“U.S. federal law forbids the importation of goods produced using forced labor,” said Brian Campbell, director of policy and legal programs at the ILRF. “We expect U.S. Customs will conduct a thorough investigation into how cotton from Uzbekistan is escaping detection at U.S. ports of entry and effectively ban all future imports into the United States.”
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast