Horrific abuse behind luxury revealed: Trustees appointed to two fashion giants


Lerato Khumalo

A series of raids in Italy have revealed the realities of the glamorous world of the Milan catwalk.

Workshops making handbags and other leather goods for Dior and Armani used low-paid foreign workers to produce high-quality products at a fraction of retail price, according to an investigation by Milan prosecutors into working conditions at local factories.

The Armani investigation also found that Chinese manufacturers in Italy violated labor protection laws.

Following investigations, a trustee was appointed to the production operations of world-famous brands in Italy.


The court ruling for Dior and Armani stated that workers were forced to sleep at work in order to “make them work 24 hours a day”.

Electricity consumption data revealed “continuous day-and-night production cycles, including holidays”. It also emerged that machines’ safety devices had been removed to enable workers to work faster.

The court ruling stated that workers were exposed to “sub-minimum hygiene and health conditions.”


Production costs were reduced with such illegal methods. Accordingly, Dior bags were produced for a low fee of 53 euros (approximately 1802 TL) each, but this bag was later sold in stores for 2,600 euros (approximately 91 thousand TL).

Production costs do not include leather or other raw materials. Companies also cover design, distribution and marketing costs.

Italy is home to thousands of small manufacturers that account for 50-55 percent of global luxury goods production, and investigations have shown that these manufacturers employ undocumented migrant workers in terrible conditions.

The appointment of a trustee aims to supervise the brands’ production processes and improve working conditions.