WASHINGTON — The California Labor Commissioner’s office will dip into its emergency funds Wednesday to pay 239 former employees of the San Francisco-based Wins of California factories a total of $869,000 in back wages, a spokesman said...
WASHINGTON — The California Labor Commissioner’s office will dip into its emergency funds Wednesday to pay 239 former employees of the San Francisco-based Wins of California factories a total of $869,000 in back wages, a spokesman said Thursday.
It’s the latest twist in a complex sweatshop case in San Francisco that includes state and federal labor investigators, labor rights and advocacy groups, the factory owners, creditors and a court-appointed bankruptcy appointee.
At the center of the case are Jimmy Quan, Jenny Wong and Anna Wong, who owned and operated four factories — Wins of California, Win Fashion and Win Industries in America — in San Francisco, and funneled the clothes through Tomi Inc. in Utah, according to the spokesman for the state Labor office.
Wins produced clothes for such retailers as Sears, Kmart, J.C. Penney, Bebe, Wal-Mart and the U.S. Army and Air Force Exchange, the spokesman said.
Labor officials will draw from the state’s Garment Workers Fund, which is funded by a portion of garment licensing and registration fees and is used to pay employees back wages when their employers do not have available funds.
State officials will pay out checks ranging from $250 to more than $10,000 to employees Wednesday at the labor commissioner’s office. The spokesman also said officials will have to replenish the borrowed funds and there are plans to draw from a $2.1 million lien the state has on the employers’ assets.
The plight of the workers first made headlines in San Francisco in August 2001, and it has been carried on by labor rights group Sweatshop Watch and the Chinese Progressive Association. The groups had turned up the pressure on the U.S. Department of Labor in the past few months, claiming Labor Secretary Elaine Chao reneged on promises to expedite payments to the workers.
State and federal investigators initiated an investigation of Wins in July. A number of state and federal actions were filed against the company, which subsequently filed for bankruptcy and is no longer in business, according to the state Labor spokesman.
It is still unclear what will happen to an escrow account of $420,000 federal investigators collected from the Wins employers, which was at the heart of the labor rights and advocacy group’s complaints. The escrow account has been tied up in litigation in federal court as Wins’ creditors attempt to lay claim to the money.
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)
The @cfda has shifted the dates of #NYFW, with Men’s showing on February 5 through February 7, and Women’s will directly follow, running from February 8 through 14. The preliminary schedule will be released on the CFDA’s web site in the next few days, but Mark Beckham, VP of marketing for the CFDA, revealed that @rafsimons will be back to close the men’s-specific part of the week with a show on February 7 #wwdfashion (📷: Kelly Taub)
@ferragamo is introducing a new space dedicated to the development of women’s and men’s leather good samples. The laboratory, which is created eco-friendly materials and designed to reduce the environmental impact of the manufacturing processes, will allow the company to expand its accessories offering through traditional artisanal approaches. #wwdfashion (📷: @aitorrosasphoto)
How does a “regular, degular, schmegular” girl from the Bronx, N.Y., become a Grammy-nominated artist with a certified platinum record in less than a year? Call it the @iamcardib come up. The 25-year-old has become a musical sensation, and the fashion world is taking note. “If I could describe her style I would say drama. She’s really into the dramatics,” says Cardi B’s stylist @kollincarter. See how Carter styles her bold and out there looks with the link in bio. #wwdfashion
“There is no formula. There is no guideline. I can watch Ted Talks all day, but there is no one who can advise me on exactly what it is I should be doing,” said @ronniefieg, CEO of @kith, in an interview with WWD’s @ariahughes at the brand’s new SoHo office in Manhattan. Head to WWD.com to see how Fieg went from hanging out in shoe stockrooms at 13 to building his own business. #wwdfashion (📷: @weston.wells)
@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