AUSTRALIA’S “glamorous” women’s fashion industry is the envy of the world.
But the industry, with an annual turnover of more than $5 billion, has been in the spotlight for years for its low-cost and often stylish designs and style.
But in recent years, the industry has been rocked by allegations of abuse, sexual misconduct and bullying, prompting an international investigation and calls for greater transparency and accountability.
Key points:AUSTRALIAN women’s wear company Aussie Vogue has faced accusations of sexual harassment and misconductIn October 2016, the US attorney general launched an investigation into the company after a woman alleged she had been sexually harassed and assaultedWhile the allegations were never proven, it has been reported that Aussie and Australian brands are being forced to cut their ties with the company in the wake of the scandal.
But with more and more Australians becoming aware of the issue, a new wave of Australian women’s designers have taken to the fashion scene to tell their stories.
The Australian brand that is now known as Aussie, which is based in Melbourne’s CBD, is known for its affordable yet high-quality designs, but also for its work on women’s issues.
And while the company has a loyal following, its recent moves have sparked some controversy.
The company’s head of womens fashion, Julie Chazelle, said she was not aware of any incidents of sexual assault or harassment involving the company’s staff.
“There are no allegations of inappropriate behaviour,” she said.
“We have a strong policy that we have zero tolerance for inappropriate behaviour, and it’s something that we take very seriously.”
Ms Chazille said Aussie would not comment on any other companies, saying: “We don’t comment on individual companies.”
She said the company had also removed a number of its female designers, including Sarah Ries, who had been involved in the brand’s women’s and girls’ fashion since it was founded in 2003.
“They were very supportive of us, and we have a very close relationship with them,” she told 7.30.
“Sarah was an integral part of our team and we’re grateful for the support she gave us.”
The company said it had removed several female designers from the team following the allegations, including Ms Chazette.
“It was very clear to us that the allegations made by a woman in Australia were not supported by the facts,” she added.
“The company has reviewed all its policies, procedures and processes in light of the allegations and has removed the women who have been associated with the brand.”
In addition, Aussie has withdrawn all advertising from publications that reported on these matters, including The Sydney Morning Herald and The Sydney Post.
“The ABC spoke to a number Aussie designers who had worked with the organisation.
One of the women, who wished to remain anonymous, said Aussies commitment to transparency was commendable, but that the company needed to look at what was happening internally.”
I think they are a little bit naive,” she explained.”
If they were doing things the right way, there’d be no allegations or anything like that.
It’s very hard for them to keep quiet when they have so many employees and so many projects going on.
“She also said she hoped to continue working with Aussie to create women’s work, but added that she had lost faith in the company.”
As a young woman, I really believed in the brands, but then they just kept getting more and so I lost faith,” she revealed.
The ABC contacted Aussie for comment.
A spokesperson said: “The company takes the allegations of sexual misconduct seriously and we are committed to creating a safe workplace and fostering a culture of integrity in our business.”
Aussie is committed to addressing these matters in a proactive and transparent manner and is committed in the long-term to providing an environment that promotes a culture and environment of respect and equality.”
Ms Ries said AUS had been the source of much of her inspiration.
“Growing up in Australia, I always saw Aussie as a place that was like a family, and I wanted to be a part of that,” she recalled.
“And the fact that they are now having to put the company out of business and it just shows that it can be a bit hard for a company like that to grow.”
Topics:arts-and-entertainment,women,women-in-technology,fashion,technology-and_media,sexual-offences,business-economics-and–finance,internet-technology-facilities,internet,internetworking,united-statesFirst posted November 08, 2018 05:23:39Contact Melissa O’ConnorMore stories from Victoria