The Beijing Consumers’ Association has called Zara out for ignoring the “rights and interests of domestic consumers,” according to a People’s Daily report on Wednesday. The Spanish fast-fashion retailer, which has footholds in North and South America, Europe, and Asia, is among 20 well-known brands that were declared substandard after a recent round of quality tests by the watchdog group. Clothes sold by Zara flunked three categories, more than any other brand examined. It was also the only label that failed three consecutive tests.
LOST IN TRANSLATION
The BCA released its report earlier this month after putting 57 domestic and international brands sold in Beijing through a 13-step wringer. Zara’s first stumble occurred with fiber content. Although the label on a pair of men’s trousers disclosed a content of 75 percent cotton, 20 percent wool, and 5 percent terylene (a type of polyester), the fabric tested at 68 percent cotton, 10 percent wool, and 12 percent “other content.” Zara similarly missed the mark on the down content of its jackets in 2009 and 2010—the reality was a respective 9.1 and 18.5 percent lower than the amount stated on the labels.
The Beijing Consumers Association blames overzealous expansion on Zara’s lagging quality.
In addition to floundering in color-fastness tests, the trousers also exceeded legal limits of formaldehyde and alkalinity, both of which can irritate skin.
“What upset us the most is not that Zara’s products have been continuously failing tests, it is their silence about the quality issue found in China,” Dong Qing, vice president of BCA, told People’s Daily. “I don’t think they carry such an arrogant attitude elsewhere. Their attitude really doesn’t match their international image.” He blames overzealous expansion on the retailer’s lagging quality. “Adding a little bit less cotton and down in their garments could help the company save a lot, and consumers wouldn’t notice at all,” he said.
A spokesman for Zara China told Xinhua News that the company will fix the incorrect labels, but then he proceeded to finger factories in Morocco for the low-quality articles. More jarringly, he said that the merchandise was “still of high-enough quality for sale in China.” Standards, schmandards?