Trade union representatives and workers' rights groups are holding a "People's Tribunal" in Phnom Penh this week to investigate wages and labor conditions in the Cambodian garment industry.
International Asia Floor Wage Alliance and the Asia Floor Wage Cambodia, two coalitions of garment workers' trade unions and workers' rights groups, have organized the tribunal, which will conclude with a press conference Feb. 8.
"Despite experiencing sustained growth in the sector Cambodia's minimum wage allowance is [$66] a month and is currently the lowest of all its neighboring states. This wage amounts to around half that required to adequately meet the average worker's basic needs." Tola Moeun head of labor programs for the Community Legal Education Centre, said in a press release distributed by the Clean Clothes Campaign organization, a garment workers' rights group.
The release said the tribunal follows a series of recent mass faintings at factories "induced by malnutrition, and strikes pulling more than 200,000 workers to the streets to protest poor conditions and inadequate pay."
Jeroen Merk, secretariat for Clean Clothes Campaign International, said the organization wants to see some real commitment from "big brands" manufacturing in Cambodia to address the needs of their workers.
"A living wage should be at the root of company policies," said Merk.
One "mass fainting" took place last summer at a Cambodian garment factory that was a supplier to Hennes & Mauritz and other brands at the time.
"We don't know why," a manager at M&V International Manufacturing Ltd. said at the time. The manager said he could not estimate how many people got sick, but press reports said the number was between 100 to 300 people.
"We never forced people [to work] overtime," the manager said in August.
H&M said this week it regularly participates in forums that address wages in the supply chain and maintains a close dialogue with organizations in Cambodia including Better Factories Cambodia, NGOs and other brands.
“Workers should earn a fair wage and we strive for decent supply chain working conditions. To tackle this challenge we last year joined the Fair Wage Network to find out more about how we can contribute to more fair wages,” a spokeswoman for the Swedish high street retailer said.
“We believe that our presence and our engagement in Cambodia send positive signals that the questions raised are very important to H&M. However, H&M will not attend the Peoples’ Tribunal held in Cambodia this week due to many other engagements during the first months of 2012. We have often participated in similar initiatives, such as seminars and panels, and are often one of few or the only brand present,” she added.
“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