WASHINGTON — Rep. George Miller (D., Calif.), an outspoken critic of the apparel industry record on worker safety in foreign factories, most recently in Bangladesh, said Monday he will not seek reelection this fall after spending 40 years in the House advocating for labor rights around the globe.
Miller, 68, has chaired three committees in the House and is currently the senior Democrat on the House Committee on Education and the Workforce. While he wrote and sponsored major legislation affecting labor and health policy as well as the education system in the U.S. during his tenure, Miller was best known to the fashion industry as a staunch advocate of garment workers in Bangladesh and a critic of the fashion industry’s supply chain practices in the wake of two factory tragedies that claimed the lives of more than 1,240 workers in the past 14 months.
Among the top priorities Miller listed for his remaining year in Congress — next to pushing for an increase in the minimum wage to at least $10.10 an hour from the current $7.25 and making college more affordable — was the goal to “Encourage American companies to embrace international labor standards in their substandard factories in Bangladesh and other countries.”
The Tazreen Fashions Ltd. fire in November 2012 and the Rana Plaza building collapse this past April sparked a global outcry against Western brands and retailers. Under pressure, the industry mobilized to launch two safety initiatives aimed at improving worker and building safety in the country’s $20 billion garment export industry. The government of Bangladesh also came under fire and lost its duty-free trade benefits under the U.S. Generalized System of Preferences, a move for which Miller advocated on Capitol Hill.
When hooded sweatshirts and matching sweatpants bearing “Semper Fi” and “U.S. Marines” were found in the rubble of Tazreen, Miller cosponsored legislation in June that would require all military licensed and branded apparel sold at military stores to comply with a five-year binding agreement dubbed the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh. The legislation, which passed the House but has stalled in Congress, put the government procurement policies in the U.S. in the spotlight.
“The reason that factory managers keep their workers in unsafe buildings on the verge of going up in flames or collapsing is fear,” Miller wrote in his piece. “Fear that the Western brands and retailers will take their orders elsewhere because of a missed day of production, late delivery or a miniscule increase in production costs. The brands know this. That’s why I believe they bear the ultimate responsibility for these horrendously unsafe working conditions. It is time that American consumers understand which brands will accept blood on their labels and which will not.”
Harrods plans to remove the famous statue of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed from the bottom of the Egyptian escalators and hand it back to Mohamed Al-Fayed. “We are very proud to have played our role in celebrating the lives of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed at Harrods and to have welcomed people from around the world to visit the memorial for the past 20 years,” said Michael Ward, Harrods managing director. “With the announcement of the new official memorial statue to Diana, Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace, we feel that the time is right to return this memorial to Mr. Al Fayed and for the public to be invited to pay their respects at the palace.” More on the news, with reporting by @loreleimarfil, at WWD.com. #wwdnews
@prada is introducing a new project at its men’s fall 2018 show this Sunday: “Prada Invites.” The fashion house invited four celebrated creative minds – @ronanaerwanbouroullec, Konstantin Grcic, @herzogdemeuron and @rem.koolhaas – to each create a unique item with its iconic nylon material. The designs will be unveiled on the runway show, which will take place at the company’s warehouse in Viale Ortles 25. #wwdfashion #mfwm (📷: @martinocarrera)
@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