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Beyoncé's Ivy Park Line Refutes Sweatshop Allegations

Photo: Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images.
Ivy Park is weathering some extremely unflattering allegations: The activewear brand, which launched last month as a 50-50 partnership between Beyoncé Knowles and Topshop-owning billionaire Sir Philip Green, was accused of having sweatshop-like conditions in one of its factories.

The accusations were made by British tabloid The Sun yesterday, which claims that one of the factories used by the brand, MAS Holdings factory in Sri Lanka, uses “poverty-stricken seamstresses” who are "exploited and treated like slaves" to manufacture the line’s logo tanks, sports bras, leggings, and more. The tabloid underscored the irony of Bey’s line, which promotes an ultra-empowering message, being produced in ostensibly subpar conditions.

The tabloid claims that workers earn the equivalent of £4.30 per day at the factory. That might sound incredibly paltry, but it’s actually more than twice the minimum daily wage for workers in Sri Lanka, according to WWD. MAS Holdings also produces performance-centric garb for brands like Nike (which even partnered with the company to create a new Sri Lankan factory in 2009) and Lululemon (which created a video three years ago touting MAS as a “company that truly shares [Lululemon’s] values”).

Today, Ivy Park released a statement addressing the allegations: “Ivy Park has a rigorous ethical trading program. We are proud of our sustained efforts in terms of factory inspections and audits, and our teams worldwide work very closely with our suppliers and their factories to ensure compliance.” The statement also outlined how the brand aims to help factories producing Ivy Park garb do so with proper working conditions: “We expect our suppliers to meet our code of conduct and we support them in achieving these requirements.”

The Sun’s claims were also countered by WWD, which spoke to an anonymous industry source that said the MAS Holdings-owned factories were “fully vetted” and “‘painstakingly” selected by Ivy Park’s team.

While the source is definitely dubious, calling out subpar working conditions is a serious matter — especially for a brand that’s associated with a major fast fashion name like Topshop. Our hope is this is just a case of a tabloid drumming up fictitious drama.