The past two weeks have been a roller coaster ride for the fashion industry mildly put! Apart from the whirlwind fashion weeks and designer musical chairs (At YSL, Jil Sander, and “going on for a while now” Dior) the latest shocker is a sweatshop scandal. And this time the fingers are pointed at Alexander Wang!
Mr. Wang is young, business savvy, has carved a niche in the contemporary market, has phenomenal collections on the runway, and to top it off has solid sales. He’s also expanding faster than you can say “sweatshop”! A new flagship at Canal street, and many more by the end of this year! I am as skeptical about this issue as any of you are! But just have two nagging questions!
1. I understand( I am not endorsing their actions though) when mass market brands get caught in such scandals (like the GAP and Nike have in the past) – they constantly try to squeeze production costs. But Wang’s wares arent exactly cheap. Moreover when he’s doing so well financially you’d expect him to treat his employees better.
2. I also know companies’ best defense in the past in such situations have been their inability to monitor the process since everything is based offshore. Which makes this harder to digest since the sweatshop in question is at China Town,NYC! I wonder how Wang will get out of this one. I’d be happy if he can come out unscathed, but just a reminder that today’s customer is smarter, socially aware and more informed than ever.