Yesterday, news broke that Alexander Wang employees had served the company with a $50 million lawsuit, alleging that the company violated New York State labor laws and describing Wang's downtown New York studio as a "sweatshop." One plaintiff in particular, who was ultimately fired, claimed he was hospitalized after passing out during a 25-hour work day and suffered from work-related illnesses. "Say it ain't so," we thought, and, not surprisingly, the company is saying it isn't.
A rep for Wang gave WWD the following statement:
The company takes its obligations to comply with the law very seriously, including the relevant wage and hour regulations, the payment of overtime to eligible employees and having a safe working environment for all of our employees. We will vehemently defend any allegations to the contrary.
Plaintiff Wenyu Lu's lawyer, Ming Hai, calls the garment factories in Chinatown, of which there are about 20, a "new kind of slavery." He also says companies tend to settle out of court in these kinds of cases in order to avoid bad press, so that is most likely what will happen here. The WWD report also clarifies that nine separate suits were filed for $50 million each, which could potentially put the company on the line for a whopping $450 million. We certainly hope Alexander Wang isn't running a New York sweatshop, but we may never know for sure.