Zara is at the top of the fast-fashion game. In fact, they are the brainchild of Intidex, the crowning king on top of the fashion throne as the world’s largest fashion retailer. They are vertically integrated, which means they have control of every step of the product development process. Because of this they get a design from concept to completion in 1-2 weeks. Hence the term, fast fashion.
A factor in their speedy distribution is that the Spanish-based retailer still does half of their production domestically. The remainder is done in regions of close proximity, Turkey being one of the main hubs. In the last week controversy has struck Zara and its factory Bravo Teksil in Istanbul. As shoppers were perusing racks of clothing at Zara in the Turkish capital, they found notes hidden in garments that read, “I made this item you are going to buy, but I didn’t get paid for it.” As more and more of these surfaced it brought to light the plight of displaced workers that has been going on for over a year according to Fox News.
In July 2016, Bravo Teksil’s factory owner disappeared, along with all the money from Inditex for three months’ worth of manufactured goods. This prompted a shut down of the factory and left workers without jobs and also back pay, vacation time and severance, reports Sourcing Journal Online. Workers have been trying to fight for their pay but after failed attempts and no agreement having been reached, they decided to take an entirely new approach with the hidden notes.
The manifesting sector of fashion is no stranger to controversy with poor working conditions and child labor common headlines in the papers. Before it reaches the press, most of the time the companies who manufactures at these factories typically have no idea what the workers are enduring. In this case, Inditex are working to gather compensation for the workers and have started a fund to raise money for the workers affected. They had met all of their contractual obligations with the factory, but unfortunately the factory owner has still not been found. Therefore, it this has now become Zara and its parent company’s obligation.