Tuesday saw Brazilian federal prosecutors launching an investigation into Zara after they received a tip that one of the suppliers of the Spanish brand uses slave labour.
Women’s Wear Daily reported that raids were carried out at several sweatshops in Sao Paolo and garments with the Zara label were confiscated. The investigators who conducted the raids said that they found 16 people who were working for only $130 to $150 a month. The underpaid workers had 12-hour shifts and the working conditions were deemed unhygienic.
A representative of Zara stated in a press release that the sweatshops were not authorised outsourcers and although the brand is continuing the working relationship, it has asked the supplier to improve working conditions.
Zara is famous world-wide for creating runway fashions at a fraction of the cost. The business has been an incredible success because of its speed and efficiency. One does wonder whether the brand has been able to accomplish so much because of the inexpensive labour that it inadvertently took advantage of. While it is not surprising that the company got a few of its clothes from such a disreputable source, it is shocking that the Zara will continue to work with them.