At a performance disguised as an Adidas show as part of Berlin Fashion Week, activists accused the sporting goods manufacturer of not standing up for the labor rights of textile workers in Southeast Asia. Adidas rejected the allegations at the request of the German Press Agency.
For the show on Monday evening, the New York action alliance The Yes Men had sent out invitations under the domain adidas-group.com.de, as the dpa group confirmed on request. The invitation announced the world premiere of a sportswear line by Adidas that would honor the stories of "maltreated" workers.
At the event, models who appeared to be injured and bloodied stumbled down the runway in tattered Adidas-branded clothing said to be made from clothing previously worn by Cambodian workers. According to the campaign for clean clothes - a partner of The Yes Men - the background to the action is the accusation that Adidas does not respect the rights of suppliers' employees.
When asked, Adidas explained that the company has been “ensuring fair and safe working conditions for the employees in its supply chain for more than 25 years with a variety of measures”. The company's workplace standards required its suppliers to progressively increase workers' wages and living standards. According to a company spokesman, the disposable income of the workers in the supplier companies is generally well above the statutory minimum wage.
The communications guerrilla group The Yes Men became known in 1999 with a fake World Trade Organization (WTO) website. In another performance, the activists, who like to pose as politicians or businessmen, presented a fake campaign by the oil company Shell about the company's plans to drill in the Arctic. Behind the group are Igor Vamos, Jacques Servin and Keil Troisi, who often appear under pseudonyms.