Shoppers at fashion retailer Zara in Istanbul have found unusual tags on their garments containing distressing messages planted by exploited workers.

The unusual tags were attached to garments by Turkish workers, complaining they had not been paid for producing the merchandise in the store, reports news.com.au.

Workers at an outsource manufacturer for Zara and other retailers have been going into Zara shops and leaving tags inside clothes saying: "I made this item you are going to buy, but I didn't get paid for it."

The tag calls on the shopper to pressure Zara into paying them and support their campaign.

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The tags say the workers were employed by the manufacturer Bravo, which closed down overnight. The campaign says that the manufacturer owes them three months of pay and severance allowance.

Inditex, which owns Zara, did not immediately respond to questions from AP.