Fashion Nova Accused of Wage Violations

Retailer Fashion Nova has been accused of paying its factory workers extremely low wages. A New York Times investigation revealed that between 2016 and 2019, the U.S. Department of labor found factories in Los Angeles contracted to Fashion Nova paid their sewers as little as $2.77 an hour, well under California’s minimum wage of $12 an hour.

Many of their workers are undocumented and paid off the books. According to the investigation, workers are owed at least $3.8 million in back wages. Due to the fact that many of the workers are undocumented, authorities have not been alerted about the sweatshop environment. 

Workers told the Times they work seven days a week in dirty conditions with rats and cockroaches. General Counsel from Fashion Nova said in a statement that they have had highly productive meetings with the Labor Department and discussed ensuring their workers are “appropriately compensated for what they do.” They continued, “Any suggestion that Fashion Nova is responsible for underpaying anyone working on our brand is categorically false.”

The Realist Woman’s take:

This is extremely disturbing and for me it's personal. I like Fashion Nova and have made multiple purchases from their brand over the years. But these are the unjust consequences of fast fashion. There is a capitalistic pressure to churn out these clothes as fast as possible, as cheap as possible to turn a sizable profit, therefor, workers, mainly female workers, are undervalued and are criminally underpaid.

This is slave labor right in my own backyard. According to the New York Times report, Fashion Nova has had many labor violations over the years, along with Forever 21, TJ Maxx and Ross Dress for Less. Los Angeles needs to do better and these retailers should receive massive fines for the way they’ve been treating their workers and conducting their “business.” It’s once again an example of profit over people. 

Stories like this make me extremely hesitant when it comes to buying clothes from these retailers in the future. Without these workers, they wouldn't get their clothes made and wouldn't make the profits they're currently seeing. They can more than afford to pay these women not just the minimum wage, but a living wage. Anything less than that is criminal.