The Shadow Economy of Italy

20 September 2019

Supply chains are moving in a more sustainable and transparent direction for industries around the world. While this global movement is evident to many, there are still companies, even countries, who remain in the dark ages. The shadow economy of Italy is a stark example. According to a recent New York Times article, sophisticated craftsmanship and hard labor in Italy is often underpaid and overworked. For example, seamstresses for high-end luxury fashion brands can be paid as low as €1 per meter of fabric they complete. The seamstresses and garment makers for these companies often go without contracts and are uninsured. In southern Italy, the most one seamstress has ever made is €24 on a garment. This is a fraction of the articles she produces that often sell for €800 – €2,000 euros for luxury brands. With a rise in transparency, how much will consumers tolerate from a company before they de-risk and humanize their supply chains?

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