DHAKA, Bangladesh — While change is ongoing in the Bangladesh apparel industry after the tragic Rana Plaza collapse in April 2013, both the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety and the Accord on Fire and Building Safety are being watched keenly in Dhaka.
Ian Spalding, the alliance’s senior adviser, is a key person responsible for implementing the plans of the group of 26 retailers and brands, mainly from North America. Here, he talks with WWD about how the organization is handling some of the more complex issues that are emerging as the alliance establishes an office in Dhaka and begins its factory inspections and training programs.
WWD: What is the count on factory inspections at this time? Ian Spalding: Well, it’s a moving target, but as of Wednesday, 508 inspections have been done and 119 are remaining. It’s really important to keep in mind that doing inspections is incredibly complicated. We use electrical engineers, fire engineers, structural engineers and prior to the establishment of the alliance, there were individual companies that did their own inspections. We did a review of those inspections and found that some of those were completely ineffective and some were not very good at all. Others were very thorough and largely equivalent of the alliance-led inspections. So when we talk about inspections of the 508 factories, that includes alliance-led inspections by our team in Bangladesh with seven local firms and some previous inspections that Wal-Mart, Gap, Children’s Place and few other companies have done themselves and that have been accepted for their equivalency. The total number of factories to be inspected is 626.
WWD: Does it seem realistic to inspect all of these by July 10? I.S.: It does. We’ve made a commitment and we will fulfill it, but it’s also important to mention that the inspection is the start of a very long journey of remediation. It doesn’t mean that we don’t go back and evaluate a factory in July or September if there is a need to reevaluate a factory or in order to prove that the factory has remediated. There will be a need for some ongoing inspections to happen after July. But we have to have a milestone and a target, and that target is July 10, one year from the founding of the alliance. We are well on our way and we are confident that we will achieve it.
WWD: How have employers reacted to inspections? Have they been against them? Do they see them as cultural imperialism? I.S.: It’s hard to say all factories think the same way. Some factories are going to be incredibly scared and frustrated and anxious about anything that we do. They’re scared of what the ramifications are, they’re scared of losing the business, etc. The others are going to be quite comfortable because they see this as a benefit and a way to reassure themselves that their factories are safe. From our perspective, what we’ve done, which is different from other initiatives that are out there, is that we have really brought stakeholders along, we have BGMEA [Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association] on our board of directors, we’ve done a fair amount of outreach to the industry to establish good relations with them; in addition, we’ve provided many training and orientation sessions for factory owners so that they can understand what we’re doing.
@kering_official is spinning off its stake in puma in an effort to focus on its luxury brands, the brand operator announced yesterday. “We are proud to have supported the turnaround of Puma, which now has unrivaled capabilities to take full advantage of the specific dynamics of its global markets and is poised to achieve substantial growth,” said François-Henri Pinault, Kering’s chief executive officer and chairman. Artémis will become a “long-term strategic shareholder” of Puma with a 29 percent stake. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
The fashion world mourns for celebrated street style photographer, Nabile Quenum, who died at age 32 in Paris.
Quenum, creator of the fashion blog “J’ai Perdu Ma Veste,” was a fashion week fixture, and regularly shot for New York magazine’s The Cut, among other outlets, and brands such as Louis Vuitton, Moncler and Adidas. He was also actively involved in the #NoFreePhotos initiative, which kicked off in the fall. Read more about Quenum in @kbsmoke's story on WWD.com. #wwdnews
@verwanggang and @maisonladuree have teamed up on a dessert collab called Vera Wang Pour Ladurée. The collection, which launched this week, features a specialty macaroon, as well as a wedding cake inspired by one of the designer’s gowns. “I could not imagine a more delicate or sophisticated creation to grace any couple’s celebration,” said Wang. #wwdfashion
“I’m Russian and I love to use all these little tricks that I got from my grandma or my mom. We didn’t have a lot of money for creams or anything like that so we would use a garden as a beauty treatment regime. We’d put cucumber in the fridge and do a cucumber mask,” says model @irinashayk on one of her beauty hacks. WWD asked celebs what their go-to self-care rituals are. See what Naomie Harris, Freida Pinto and more said on WWD.com. #wwdeye #wwdbeauty (📷: @zefashioninsider)
Exclusive: @viktorandrolf are teaming up with @Zalando on a collection made from leftover clothing. The lineup, which lands at the retailer February 1, includes 17 pieces adorned with sliced up and repurposed overstock from the retailer’s private label collection. Pictured here is a look from the collection –– see more on WWD.com. #wwdfashion #wwdnews
@duewestnyc is the newest bar joining the collection of intimate neighborhood-focused spaces in the West Village. The cocktail menu, which includes bitters and syrups made in-house, offers a “Build Your Own Old-Fashioned” – like the one pictured here – where guests can choose from a list of spirits and unexpected sugars and bitters. #wwdeye
Spotted at last night’s National Board of Review gala in NYC: Angelina Jolie. Jolie – along with Meryl Streep, @lupitanyongo and more – continued the all-black dress code from Sunday’s Golden Globes. #wwdeye (📷: @lexieblacklock)