NEW YORK — The New York State Department of Labor might have been a bit hasty when it included Macy’s Inc. as one of the retailers alleged to be utilizing a Queens sweatshop to produce its goods.
On July 23, state DOL officials revealed an investigation had uncovered significant labor violations at two factories allegedly manufacturing garments for Macy’s, Gap, Banana Republic, Express, Victoria’s Secret, Limited and Coldwater Creek.
But Macy’s said Tuesday that an internal investigation found the garment factory identified by the DOL was not manufacturing goods for the retailer. However, one of the factories was producing counterfeits of Macy’s private label brands, the store said.
“There is no place in Macy’s stores for goods that are manufactured by workers who are underage, underpaid or forced to work in conditions that are illegal,” said Janet Grove, vice chair of Macy’s Inc. and chairman of Macy’s merchandising group. “We have cooperated fully with the Department of Labor and applaud the department for its vigorous enforcement.”
Jin Shun Inc., a garment contractor operating out of Long Island City in Queens, is alleged to have underpaid more than 100 mostly immigrant workers by nearly $3 million in minimum wage and overtime pay since 2005. The investigation found that prior to 2005, Jin Shun Inc. operated under the name Venture 47 and allegedly withheld nearly $2.5 million in minimum and overtime wages. Officials are seeking repayment of the more than $5 million total owed to workers since before 2005. Both companies are owned by Jikai Lin and Zhang Yun Chen.
When officials raided two facilities last Wednesday morning, they tagged more than 10,000 garments with a label stating the garments were unlawfully manufactured. The garments included items for Express and the Macy’s private label brands Ultra Flirt and INC.
Macy’s said the second raided factory, operating under the name Zheng Da Inc. and also in Long Island City, was manufacturing counterfeit private label merchandise from previous seasons. The retailer also found that third-party monitors hired by Macy’s had inspected the Jin Shun factory twice in 2007 and rejected using the facility due to incomplete employment record keeping.
“This case reinforces the importance of our process for monitoring the suppliers and factories that make products sold at Macy’s,” Grove said. “The Jin Shun factory did not meet our requirements and thus was prohibited from manufacturing for our stores. Yet the experience with these Long Island City factories reminds us that we need to remain vigilant because some potential suppliers clearly are not up to the high standards we set.”
A call for comment to the NYDOL was not returned by press time.
“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