Alexander Wang denied allegations that its factory in New York’s Chinatown was a “sweatshop,” and the company vowed to defend itself against a $450 million lawsuit brought by an ex-employee. Filed last month in Queens County Supreme Court, the lawsuit claims Wang violated New York State labor laws, including provisions covering overtime compensation and minimum wage.
A spokeswoman for the fashion brand, which has yet to be served with the legal papers, told WWD on Tuesday, “The company takes its obligations to comply with the law very seriously, including the relevant wage and hour regulations, the payment of overtime to eligible employees and having a safe working environment for all of our employees. We will vehemently defend any allegations to the contrary.”
Forcing employees to work 16-hour days without overtime in an unventilated, windowless 200-square-foot room with more than 15 other workers were among the charges hurled at Wang by ex-employee Wenyu Lu. His attorney said roughly 30 of his former co-workers were added to the case.
The plaintiffs are demanding $50 million for each of the suit’s nine charges, including labor law violations, breach of agreement and unjust enrichment.
Lu, who claimed to work 84 hours a week at the designer’s factory at 386 Broadway, said he suffered work-related illnesses, including an eye injury and kidney stones, which resulted in an emergency operation two years ago.
In one instance, the 56-year-old Lu alleged he passed out at his station after working 25 hours without a break. Ultimately, Lu, who started at the factory in 2008, was fired on Feb. 16 after complaining about the poor conditions and applying for worker’s compensation for injuries sustained on the job, his lawyer, Ming Hai, alleged.
“Bad labor conditions are everywhere in the Asian garment community. It’s horrible,” said Hai, noting that there are more than 20 garment factories in Chinatown.
“A lot of the workers are new immigrants and they don’t speak English,” he said. “They work long hours. It’s like a new kind of slavery.”
According to Hai, who regularly tries such employment law cases, most factory owners tend to settle the disputes for fear of bad press.
Taking the final spot on the mens’ portion of New York Fashion Week calendar next month will be none other than @tomford. Though he’s shown his men’s wear in New York in the past, this will mark the first time the designer has shown his men’s collection alone during New York Fashion Week: Men’s. His runway show will debut on February 6 at the Park Avenue Armory. #wwdfashion
London-based couture house @ralphandrusso has certainly been in the spotlight, having its dresses worn by @beyonce, Angelina Jolie, Meghan Markle in her engagement photos and more. For couture, Tamara Ralph focused on ornamentation — think: feathers with chain mail, jet embroidery and clusters of pearls and crystals. See the rest of the collection on WWD.com #wwdfashion #couture (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo)
Minnie Mouse celebrated her 90th birthday by getting her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. For her celebratory luncheon, @coach’s creative director @stuartvevers dressed her in a custom made prairie dress, complete with Vever’s take on the polka dot – black sequined versions – under a cropped motorcycle jacket. The designer also put his own mark on Minnie’s classic red shoes, infusing the color with sparkles and adding some Coach crystals. “We chose colors that were very Minnie and also represented quintessential Coach elements,” said Vevers. #wwdfashion #nationalpolkadotday (📷: George Chinsee)
@nickjonas is unveiling his first-ever apparel collection through a partnership with John Varvatos. The limited-edition capsule, which makes its debut in spring, also marks the first time the designer has collaborated with anyone on a line. “The process in working with Nick is amazing. It’s inspiring to be around someone who is not only connected with the trade that they do, but also with what’s happening in the environment around him, and how that connects to what we do with style,” said Varvatos. (RG: @johnvarvatos) #wwdfashion
@margotrobbie steps out onto the red carpet wearing @miumiu. The actress is nominated for “Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role” in “I, Tonya” at the #SagAwards. (📷: Stewart Cook) #wwdfashion
For @massimogiorgetti of @msgm, the Nineties are his favorite decade. “They had a huge impact on my personal growth. What I like of the Nineties is that they are not so precise in terms of style as other decades…there was actually a bit of everything,” he said. As seen on MSGM’s Spring 2018 show: tie-dye and a bit of grunge, two styles that are synonymous with the decade #wwdfashion #wwddecades (📷: @kukukuba)