Corporate Social Responsibility and Fashion

Corporate Social Responsibility and Fashion

Originally posted 2018-11-19 11:18:04

By Diana Chan |

csrRecently, the United States Department of Labor found more than 1500 garment workers in California were owed over $3 million in unpaid wages based on a year-long survey. The Department of Labor found that suppliers directly related to Nasty Gal, Macy’s, Nordstrom, and JC Penney, and others, paid its workers below the minimum wage while also subjecting them to sweatshop-like conditions.

This finding is not the first incident of the underpayment of workers and poor working conditions. Retailers like Forever 21 and Urban Outfitters have been investigated in the past for the same issues. With the onslaught of “fast fashion,” the competition to mass produce clothing and copies of designer styles puts pressure on companies to manufacture clothing quickly and sell them in stores before the style fades away. While competition certainly pushes companies to rapidly manufacture clothing, the downside is that working conditions are pushed aside, bringing up issues of corporate social responsibility within the fashion industry.

Corporate social responsibility is the notion that companies assess and act on the company’s impact on society. While making clothes affordable for customers is a positive aspect of fast fashion, instances of violating labor regulations affects the image of the company by negatively associating the company with social welfare issues. Moreover, repeated violations can convey a negative image of the company culture in an undesirable way to the public because the company is not proactively making an effort to change conditions. Corporate social responsibility is an important aspect for a company to consider not only to redeem itself in the face of bad publicity, but also to boost the brand’s image.


Image Credit: By Fahad Faisal (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

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