MJ Soffe and the Tazreen Factory

To:WRC Affiliate Universities and Colleges
From:Scott Nova
Date:December 4, 2012
Re:MJ Soffe and the Tazreen Factory

As we reported to you in our communication of November 30, a collegiate licensee, MJ Soffe, was one of the companies identified as a customer of Tazreen Fashions, the factory in Bangladesh that burned on November 24, killing 111 people. We wrote to Soffe to ask which products the company made at Tazreen Fashions, in order to determine whether this factory produced collegiate goods. We received a response from Soffe yesterday, which we understand Soffe also sent to some universities.

In its response, Soffe reports that Tazreen Fashions produced collegiate apparel for Soffe in 2011. Soffe states that this production happened without the company’s knowledge. According to Soffe, its agent, Linter International, had placed production at another factory owned by Tuba Group, the parent company of Tazreen Fashions. Soffe says it authorized production at the other factory, called Tuba Garments, but not at Tazreen, and only found out about the production at Tazreen after the fact. Soffe states that it then prohibited any further Soffe production at Tazreen and that no further production took place.

We have several concerns about Soffe’s actions and statements:

  1. Soffe acknowledges that it produced university licensed goods at Tuba Garments (about 150,000 pieces, by Soffe’s accounting). However, we can find no record of Soffe ever having disclosed Tuba Garments to its licensor universities. Since Soffe says the collegiate production at Tuba Group was fully authorized, we do not know why the factory was never disclosed.
  2. Soffe acknowledges learning in 2011 that collegiate goods were produced at Tazreen Fashions, but Soffe never added Tazreen to its list of disclosed factories.
  3. Although Soffe acknowledges an ongoing relationship with Tuba Garments, for the production of non-collegiate goods, Soffe states that there was no Soffe production of any kind at Tazreen Fashions after March 2011. However, the WRC has reviewed photographs, taken inside Tazreen Fashions in recent days, that indicate that production of Soffe goods was taking place at the factory in 2012. One document references a ship date for Soffe goods of July 20, 2012. We do not know if the production referenced includes collegiate goods; however, given Soffe’s failure to provide any disclosure concerning the production of collegiate goods by Tuba Group, we do not know how much confidence the company’s assurances merit.

We have written again to Soffe to ask for further clarification and will advise you as to the company’s response.

You will find at this link two photographs taken at Tazreen Fashions.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions concerning this communication.

Scott Nova 
Worker Rights Consortium 
5 Thomas Circle NW, 5th Floor 
Washington DC 20005 
ph  202 387 4884 
fax 202 387 3292 
[email protected]