Claims have emerged accusing reality show royalty the Kardashians of cutting the production costs of clothing and accessories for their international fashion lines by using illegal workers in Eastern countries such as China.
The allegations suggest that workers as young as 16 are being mistreated and underpaid in a working environment which is unacceptable, as a means to save the pennies for the Kardashian family.
The family labels K-Dash, ShoeDazzle and the Kris Jenner Kollection have all come under fire as the Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights launches an investigation into the circumstances under which the products are produced.
Reports suggest that the working environments of the production lines are unsanitary, disease ridden and at unbearable temperatures, with workers being paid just $1 an hour on up to 84 hour per week schedules. Meanwhile, the Kardashian empire makes around $65 million per year from their reality and fashion businesses with clothes averaging a retail price of $100 a piece. At the time of writing it is unclear as to whether the claims apply only to the region in which the Kardashian lines are produced, and not to the specific factories.
At present, there is no direct proof linking the inhumane conditions to the Kardashians and, until such allegations are proven to be true, they are merely speculation. However, the link with China has been seen as devastating enough for the family. The abuse of women’s rights and poor democracy in the government has reflected badly on the family, claimed Charles Kernaghan, Director of the Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights.
Illegal labour is a highly sensitive subject in relation to the media and customers as consumer consciousness grows at an incredible rate. It is becoming an increasingly important element of fashion that clothes are produced both ethically and lawfully and it is therefore easy to see why such reports are damaging to the Kardashian name.
In the past, companies associated with illegal labour trading has included H&M, Zara and Primark. In these instances, the companies were forced to publically apologise and reaffirm their stance on such issues. The Primark case formed the focus of a BBC Panorama documentary, which ended up with the company firing agencies related to the illegal production of clothing.
The Kardashians hit back at the claims, with mother Kris Jenner, saying that there was a “strictly policed” attitude to the environments in which their lines are produced. However, if the claims are proven to be true, it won’t be long before the lines feel the price of cutting the costs.