The New York Times criticizes Italian fashion: “It hangs on subcontracting, like in Bangladesh”. Capasa rises up: “Shame on them”

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Italian Fashion’s top managers stand up unanimously against the New York Times. Their reply, after getting surprised by the unnecessary media blow and the reckless journalism demeanour, aims to give back to the public a few tools to fully and properly understand Italy’s fashion system. According to Carlo Capasa, the survey carried out by The New York Times, published on the head page, is “an outrageous and intentional attack”, a very unfair play (which occurs simultaneously with the debut of Milan Fashion Week) that sounds like a real boycott. In other words, “We are clever, our quality is annoying”, points out the President of the National Chamber of Italian Fashion while talking to the Gazzetta del Mezzogiorno. As a matter of fact, the New York newspaper harshly criticized with a reckless attitude. In their report over the contracting deals in Puglia (extensively taken, quoting the title, from “The Italian fashion shadow economy”) they depict an industry that hangs on domestic subcontracting, illegal and undeclared, underpaid and with no safeguarding, very similar to the ones that usually go on “in Bangladesh, China, India and Vietnam”. The NYT focuses on the textile industry and clearly mentions Max Mara, Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Fendi, but also looks into the footwear business, still in Puglia, while talking about the supply chain of Tod’s group. On the whole, a big picture which is unworthy “of a great, leader country like Italy”. Capasa replies: “In Italy, in the luxury fashion industry we are absolutely compliant with all labour rules”. CNMI top management emphasize a number of inaccuracies in the report (“they say we do not have a law over minimum pay”) and place in a proper context some remarks, such as the demonisation of domestic work: “It makes sense as long as it abides by rules”. Capasa will not justify such possible illegal situations: “If subcontractors have done something wrong, we shall prosecute them, but luxury is not involved in that at all”. Likewise, Miuccia Prada tells MFF that some matters must be addressed in a sensible way: “Before you criminalise a business, you need to go through gradual trials”. Toni Scervino, from La Stampa, brings truth back. Are workers paid one euro per hour? No way, in the high-end sector such price cannot apply. “Even 4 specialized employees work on a luxury model – he remarks -; low costs and pays affect other goods, not luxury. Americans had better investigate into the shoes they wear while spending 19 dollars for them”.

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