Fast Fashion retailer Forever 21 is being investigated by the US Department of Labor for violation of labour laws. Investigators report that several manufacturers produce goods for Forever 21 under ‘sweatshoplike’ conditions. “We have proof that the goods going to Forever 21 from certain garment contractor shops are being sewn by people who aren’t being paid properly,” said Priscilla Garcia, director of the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division in California. According to WWD, The Department of Labor issued a subpoena on 16 August, for documentation about the labour practices of the company’s manufacturers and contractors, with which Forever 21 failed to comply. In many of California’s garment factories, employees are paid per piece they sew instead of per hour, which doesn’t always equate to minimum wage.
It’s not the first time Forever 21 have fallen foul of the law. In November 2001, factory workers producing clothing for the company called for a store boycott until working conditions and payroll improved. The lawsuit was dropped when Forever 21 paid the workers’ back wages. In addition to labour law violations, more than 50 designers including Gwen Stefanni and Diane Von Furstenburg have in the past sued Forever 21 for allegedly stealing designs and passing them off as their own.
The company was started by Do Wan Chang and and his wife Jin Sook Chang in 1984. The Changs claim to have a strong Christian faith which is why “John 3:16″ is on the bottom of every Forever 21 bag. Perhaps they need reminding that thou shalt not steal.