Wal-Mart Stores Inc. on Thursday revealed the launch of a five-year program to empower 60,000 women who work in the factories it uses, teaching them critical life skills such as communication, hygiene, reproductive health, occupational health and safety.
“Through this program, women in the supply chain will receive the education and training they need to achieve greater success in their jobs and live a better life,” said Rajan Kamalanathan, vice president of Wal-Mart Ethical Sourcing.
Wal-Mart said the initiative was innovative in the retail and apparel industry since it was designed to help women at home as well as work, teaches suppliers how to sustain the program permanently and will be shared with other retailers.
The program, which was put together with the help of aid groups, will be rolled out to Bangladesh and India this year, with China and Central America coming later.
The Women in Factories program is part of the Global Women’s Economic Empowerment Initiative that Wal-Mart’s president and chief executive officer Mike Duke laid out in September. The retailer has been criticized in the past for its treatment of its female workforce, which has sparked a number of lawsuits alleging gender discrimination. The most famous is the Betty Dukes v. Wal-Mart case, which went to the Supreme Court seeking class action but was denied and now has reverted back to cases at the local court level.
Wal-Mart, which chalked up $444 billion in sales last year, became the world’s largest retailer by squeezing cost out of the supply chain and passing on much of the savings to shoppers in the form of low prices. Ultimately, Wal-Mart sees women’s issues as a bottom-line issue.
“By educating and empowering women in factories and creating a stronger supply chain, suppliers realize greater efficiencies in their factories, which should result in higher quality products, lower prices and more reliable product availability for customers,” said Michelle Gloeckler, senior vice president of Home for Wal-Mart.
Through its women’s economic empowerment program, Wal-Mart aims to source more from women-owned businesses, help women on farms and in factories and supply job training and education.
London’s newly opened @designmuseum will look back on the life and work of Azzedine Alaïa in a show that the designer helped to curate before he died of heart failure last month. The retrospective, which Alaïa had worked on with Mark Wilson, chief curator of the @groningermuseum, will look at the impact of his work worldwide. The show, “Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier,” will run from May 10 to October 7. Read more about the exhibit on WWD.com #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @zefashioninsider)
@Pharrell and his wife Helen Lasichanh were among the stars that came out to celebrate @rimowa’s first pop-up concept shop. The space, which is located on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, draws inspiration from airport luggage carousels and lounge areas – and features the company’s luggage and accessories. If the pop-up is successful it could pave the way for addition temporary shops throughout the world. #wwdfashion (📷: Owen Kolasinski/BFA)
@carineroitfeld celebrated @crfashionbook’s first calendar last night with a dinner party at Spring Place in Manhattan. Photographed by @stevenkleinstudio, the calendar takes on a fitness theme and features @joansmalls, @gigihadid, @danielle_herrington_ – pictured here – and more. “[Carine Roitfeld] wanted me to feel sexy and she wanted me to be myself and feel it out on my own and do what I felt was right,” said Herrington, aka Miss October. #wwdeye
@saintrecords and @virgilabloh last night at @americanexpress’ “A Night With Success Makers” event. “I always bring it back to community because without that I wouldn’t have the courage,” said Knowles when asked how she has gotten where she is now. Read more highlights from their conversation on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @lizdoupnik)
This Just In: Industry sources have told WWD that Anastasia Soare is rumored to be considering selling her beauty business, @anastasiabeverlyhills. According to those sources, Soare has tapped investment bank Imperial Capital to explore sale options for her eponymous beauty brand –– and with at least $340 million in net sales, this would be a big deal. Put in context of other recent transactions for makeup companies, Soare’s price tag could be in the billions if she were to sell the whole thing. #wwdnews #wwdbeauty (📷: @clint_spaulding)
@assouline’s latest book, “The Spirit of Bentley: Be Extraordinary” captures the adventurous attitudes and opulent lifestyles of @bentleymotors’ most creative owners and enthusiasts throughout the U.K. The 292-page hardcover has a section dedicated to showing its team of skilled artisans and photos of its most colorful owners, from George Bamford to designer @alicetemperley, pictured here by Aline Coquelle. #wwdeye
@google released its report on the most popular search terms this year. For fashion brands, the list was led by @gucci, the luxury brand that stunned the market last October when it pledged to stop using fur. Runner ups were @supremenewyork and @fashionnova, along with more established brands like @louisvuitton, @chanelofficial and @ysl. #wwdfashion (📷: @aitorrosasphoto)
In yet another fashion show shuffle, @elleryland is moving its show in sync with the Paris couture calendar — though the brand is still keeping one foot on the city’s ready-to-wear schedule. Their runway show in January will coincide with the launch of a new strategy: designing two main collections each year instead of four, which will then be released in four drops. “As we all know, the system needs to change. We need to show sooner to give time back to artisans and designers to do what they do best — create,” said founder Kym Ellery. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)
@maxmara’s classic 101801 coat was the cornerstone of its pre-fall 2018 collection. The design team expanded the traditional double-breasted, kimono-sleeved style into a trapeze coat, lean belted styles and a peacoat and presented them in monochromatic looks – like the camel one pictured here. #wwdfashion #prefall18 (📷: George Chinsee)