H&M and New York & Co. agreed to abide by new restrictions on lead in purses last week when the retailers settled a lawsuit brought by a California consumer watchdog group.
The Oakland-based Center for Environmental Health sued the companies, along with dozens of other co-defendants, last June. The advocacy group alleged the retailers violated California’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 by selling handbags, wallets and other accessories containing unsafe levels of the lead.
Hennes & Mauritz AB, New York & Co. parent Lerner NY and two vendors settled with the nonprofit organization in consent judgments approved Jan. 21 in Alameda County Superior Court.
The Center for Environmental Health said that, according to the independent testing that prompted its lawsuit, the four companies offered accessories that contained lead levels between 13 times and more than 115 times a 300 parts per million standard reached in the settlement. In its complaint, the nonprofit said consumers, including pregnant women and children, risked lead exposure through average use of the products. It called the settlements a landmark because, in the absence of legislation on the matter, they create the first legally binding rules on lead levels in purses in the country.
“We entered into this agreement to be responsible,” H&M spokeswoman Nicole Christie said Tuesday. Christie said the retailer has its own strict internal standards, but that it signed on to the settlement to “contribute toward the work CEH is doing…obviously they’re continuing to take these products off the market, which is a good thing.”
Although the settlement only pertains to bags sold in California, Christie said H&M would take comprehensive action throughout its operations.
A representative for New York & Co. had no comment.
Under the terms of their settlement, New York & Co. and the vendors agreed that by Sept. 1, purses they sell in California will contain no more than 90 parts per million lead in paint or on surface coatings, no more than 200 parts per million in PVC and no more than 600 parts per million in leather. The deal requires the companies to reduce the leather threshold to 300 parts per million by Sept. 1, 2011. H&M’s settlement calls for it to adhere to the 90 parts per million standard on paint and surfaces by March 1 and 300 parts per million on all materials by Dec. 1.
The agreements also require each of the defendants to make $35,000 in settlement payments.
“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