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February 12, 2018updated 12 Apr 2021 2:29pm

Guess probing improper conduct of co-founder

Fashion retailer Guess has set up a special committee to oversee an ongoing investigation into into allegations of improper conduct by co-founder and creative director Paul Marciano.

By Leonie Barrie

Fashion retailer Guess has set up a special committee to oversee an ongoing investigation into into allegations of improper conduct by co-founder and creative director Paul Marciano.

The Los Angeles based lifestyle brand says Marciano “adamantly denies the allegations” made by model and actress Kate Upton, who accused Marciano of sexual assault on social media.

Upton took to Twitter and Instagram to post: “It’s disappointing that such an iconic women’s brand @Guess is still empowering Paul Marciano as their creative director #metoo.”

She added: “He shouldn’t be allowed to use his power in the industry to sexually and emotionally harass women #metoo.”

Guess, which operates 982 retail stores in the Americas, Europe and Asia and another 671 through licensees and distributors worldwide, said in a statement: “As a leader in the fashion industry, Guess? Inc takes seriously any allegation of sexual harassment. The Company does not condone such misconduct in any form.”

It is the second time in a week that the fashion industry has been forced to confront allegations of sexual harassment, following the sudden departure of Lululemon Athletica’s CEO, Laurent Potdevin amid allegations of misconduct.

Lululemon CEO Potdevin exits over misconduct

Recent high-profile cases involving Hollywood, the media and political figures have exposed a global crisis of workplace sexual harassment.

Writing on just-style last year, Aruna Kashyap, a lawyer who works for Human Rights Watch, made the point that garment workers are among the most vulnerable – and that apparel brands have a responsibility to prevent human rights abuses, including sexual harassment, throughout their supply chains if they want to avoid being caught up in the #MeToo movement.

Tackling sexual harassment in the garment industry

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