Designer to the Stars Named in Sweatshop Lawsuit

The Fashion Law Exclusive - Former Miss Ecuador is headed to court, but unlike most pageant girls, the lawsuit doesn't involve a sex scandal. Since being crowned in 2000, Gabriela Cadena moved to New York and started her namesake clothing line. Cadena, who shows her collections at New York Fashion Week, has been named in a $10 million lawsuit, along with her father, Vidal Enrique Cadena Marin, brought by five former employees, who claim she runs a sweatshop in New York's Garment District and has failed to pay her employees wages and overtime. They also claim that upon complaining after they were not paid at all, the five employees, one of which was the company's creative director, were fired.

According to plaintiff Maria Esther Oyola's complaint, Cadena's garments are "publicly worn by celebrities at high-profile events such as the Screen Actors Guild awards, Miss Universe events and others, and Cadena garments are featured being worn by celebrities in popular publications such as People magazine and US Weekly."

Some of her top clients include models Miranda Kerr and Selita Ebanks, actresses Nina Dobrev and Busy Phillips, and singer Carrie Underwood, among many others. The plaintiffs are seeking unpaid wages and overtime in accordance with the Fair Labor Standards Act and damages for emotional distress.