Fashion Revolution’s response to allegations that Beyonce’s Ivy Park sportswear range is actually made in Sri Lankan sweatshops
Fashion Revolution’s response to allegations that Beyonce’s Ivy Park sportswear range which claims to ‘inspire and support women’ is actually made in Sri Lankan sweatshops by women earning just 44p an hour.
Beyonce’s Ivy Park sportwear range for TopShop was made by MAS Holdings who have a global reputation for an ethical and sustainable working environment. According to their website ‘The tireless effort put towards women’s empowerment has put MAS on the map as a global standard to aspire to’. 90% of the MAS workforce is women. In 2003, MAS launched their Women Go Beyond programme which aimed to make a difference to the lives of female employees and their families by recognising women for their efforts and providing them with opportunities to learn new skills. In 2011, MAS became a signatory to the Women’s Empowerment Principles, jointly developed by UN Women and UN Global Compact.
The factory where Beyonce’s Ivy Park collection was produced is actually an example of best practice in garment manufacturing. What this shows is that the best is nowhere near good. It is nowhere near good enough. The legal minimum wage for a garment worker in their first year of work is 10,500 LKS (£50) a month, but a Living Wage is estimated to be around 33,000 LKS (£157) Carry Somers, Fashion Revolution Co-Founder and Director said: “The scandal uncovered over the weekend that Beyonce’s Ivy Park Range of sportswear created for Top Shop with the intention of ‘inspiring and supporting women’ serves as yet another stark reminder why our fashion supply chain is broken and why a fashion revolution is needed. Meagre pay is sadly business-as-usual in the global fashion industry, addicted to quick turnaround fashion and itself staffed 80-90% by women. “Companies like Topshop now have a legal responsibility to check that workers are being treated fairly under the Modern Day Slavery Act.
What’s more, there needs to be a realisation that this isn’t a question of a bad factory – MAS appears to be one of the better garment manufacturers and 44p an hour is around 50% above the legal minimum wage. This is an entire system of exploitation. Without supply chain transparency, and a commitment from fashion brand owners to invest in better working conditions, living wages and workers’ rights, factory workers will remain disempowered and unable to independently negotiate labour conditions.” The race to the bottom will continue unless we take a systemic approach to the issue of a living wage by working with governments and unions to set a legal, enforceable minimum wage in their country which ensures workers can meet their basic needs. A Fashion Revolution is needed because the brands, even the best of the brands who are working most proactively towards a living wage, will never change the system.