Professor and Fashion Law Institute Director Susan Scafidi comments in a Business of Fashion article discussing the rise of labor litigation surrounding fashion brands’ reported abuses along the supply chain.
For decades, fashion brands have largely avoided responsibility for abuses in their supply chains. When reports of forced labor, sexual abuse or wage theft in garment factories surface, brands often sidestep liability by claiming that they’re just buyers of the factory’s finished goods and those problems aren’t their fault.
But twin crises caused by the pandemic’s devastating impact on garment workers and allegations of forced labour in Xinjiang, China (a major cotton producing hub), have ratcheted up scrutiny of brands’ responsibilities. Now, labour advocates are taking legal action to hold brands accountable.
According to Susan Scafidi, founder of the Fashion Law Institute at Fordham Law School, it all points to shifting attitudes around what corporate responsibility ought to look like.
“There is a new wave of interest in finding legal — rather than merely ethical — ways to hold companies liable,” she said.