They said/We said: Tommy Hilfiger under scrutiny for continuing to use a dangerous factory in Bangladesh

Photography by Peter Stigter

Tommy Hilfiger is making not-so-positive headlines this month for continuing to use a dangerous manufacturing factory in Bangladesh—a factory that caught fire over a year ago, tragically killing 29 workers.

ABC News headed an investigation into unsafe workshops last month and asked Hilfiger himself if the American brand was still manufacturing at said factory. His response? “I can tell you that we no longer make clothes in those factories. We pulled out of all of those factories.”

Well, it turns out Hilfiger wasn’t telling the truth. Days later he admitted as much: “I did make a mistake in telling you that I would imagine we’d be pulling out of Bangladesh when in fact that wasn’t true.”

Tommy Hilfiger’s parent company, Phillip-Van Heusen, was quick to publicize that they will be pledging $1 million, which will help with “facilitating the creation of factory health and safety committees.”

Gap and Kohl’s—two other American companies that continue to operate out of the same faulty-wired Bangladeshi factory—claim to be following PVH’s lead in working to improve factory conditions. And given the recent Alexander Wang labour suit, it seems there’s no end to the dark world of garment manufacturing. We hope PVH is sincerely dedicated to revolutionizing factory conditions and that this is not just an attempt to recover a damaged image.


Fashionista: “Whether PVH was reluctant to pull out of the factories because they wanted to help improve or just wanted to keep producing their clothes cheaply, remains to be seen…” [Fashionista]

Huffington Post: “Despite the glamorous facade, labor controversies persist behind the closed doors of the American fashion industry.” [Huffington Post]


Caitlin Agnew, assistant editor/research: “While it seems like such large-scale and unnecessary workplace tragedies should by now be a thing of the past, I hope the steps these companies are taking will ensure accidents like this never happen again.”