Despite the glamorous facade, labor controversies persist behind the closed doors of the American fashion industry. ABC News reports today that brands such as Tommy Hilfiger, Gap and Kohl's are still getting their goods from a Bangladesh factory that just a year ago was the site of a massive fire that killed 29 workers.
The story, which will air tonight on ABC's "World News With Diane Sawyer" and later on "Nightline," centers on American designers' (perhaps willful) ignorance of the poor working conditions of their overseas factories. The fire in Bangladesh, during which several factory exits were locked, happened in 2010. Since then, the unsafe environment has persisted... but the factory is still making clothes for the likes of Tommy Hilfiger, Gap and Kohl's.
No more. After pressure from ABC, Hilfiger has agreed to crack down on safety standards, spending about $1 million for an independent fire inspector. Gap is also aiming to establish similar agreement.
ABC's report comes on the heels of several other labor controversies, most notably Alexander Wang's. The American designer, who actually produces his clothes in New York, has been slapped with a $50 million lawsuit for alleged sweatshop-like conditions in his NYC factory. Victoria's Secret also found itself in hot water this past December, when Bloomberg Markets exposed the lingerie company for using cotton fabric produced by child labor in Burkina Faso.
While Victoria's Secret owned up to the less-than-ideal origins of its products and vowed to improve, Wang has resolutely refuted any charges of wrongdoing and will be fighting the case in court.
So what does Tommy have to say about the latest revelations about his Bangladesh factory? Click to ABCNews.Go.com, see the clip below and watch "World News With Diane Sawyer" to hear more.
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