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.
@fearofgod and @maxfieldla have teamed up on a pop-up installation. The store, located in the gallery space across from Maxfield’s Melrose Ave location, is the site of the brand’s House of God pop-up in which Fear of God founder @jerrylorenzo has created a church-inspired installation. A dozen vintage church pews sit in front of an LED screen playing 90s gospel singers in an effort to re-create an environment akin to a Southern Baptist Church, Lorenzo explained. Read more about the pop-up on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: Jennifer Johnson)
Known for his sleek, sophisticated American glamour, Norman Norell is the subject of an upcoming exhibition at @fitnyc. “Norell: Dean of American Fashion,” which runs from February 9 through April 14, will feature approximately 100 ensembles and accessories. His best work is exemplified by the designer’s glittering “mermaid” gowns frosted with thousands of hand-sewn sequins – like the one pictured. (📷: William Helburn) #wwdfashion
For pre-fall 2018, @balmain didn’t let go of the glitz. A crystal embroidered baseball jacket priced at around $40,000 hangs in the “couture” section of the brand’s first men’s pre-collection. Sporting the words “Balmain Army” across the back, the item took around two months to make. “When it was completed, it was like Christmas, it was like, ‘It’s done, it’s exactly what I wanted,’” said Balmain’s creative director @olivier_rousteing during a tour of the collection in a Paris showroom on Monday. #wwdfashion
Eighty degree temperatures and outdoor installations at the annual Art Basel Miami Beach called for bright, elevated beachwear. See more street style pictures on WWD.com. #theyarewearing #ABMB (📷: @lifeinreverie)
Following September’s emotional tribute to her brother Gianni, Donatella Versace wanted to bring the spring show’s deep sense of intimacy to her @versace_official pre-fall collection. Donatella found inspiration in Versace Palazzo in Milan and from Gianni’s opulent apartment. Archival patterns and new motifs were splashed on silk shirtdresses and fitted jersey frocks. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com. #wwdfashion
Demna Gvasalia continues to shake up the Paris fashion calendar — and experiment with new runway timetables for his @vetements_official brand. WWD has learned that Vetements plans to stage its next coed show for the fall 2018 season on January 19 during Men’s Fashion Week in the French capital. Details about the timing and venue have not been confirmed — stay tuned on WWD.com to catch the latest. #wwdnews (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo)
@zacposen's go-to holiday gift? Cookies! "I'll usually bake cookies and send them as a gift," said the designer, who recently released his cookbook "Cooking With Zac: Recipes from Rustic to Refined." Get the recipe for his Brown Butter-Chocolate Chip Cookies via link in bio 🍪🍪🍪 #wwdeye #cookingwithzac
For @monsemaison’s pre-fall 2018 collection, Fernando Garcia and Laura Kim honed in on the brand’s many signatures — men’s wear, which was tweaked and feminized through deconstruction, proportion play and lots of bare shoulders. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)
On Friday night, @yohjiyamamotoofficial received the Design for Asia Lifetime Achievement Award in Hong Kong. The 75-year-old designer has been celebrated for many years and is best known for his dark and avant-garde tailoring. “In my long career, in design, architecture, [I’ve been to] so many parties, this is the very first time that I have such a warm feeling, I really appreciate this,” Yamamoto said. #wwdfashion (📷: @dominiquemaitre)