Beyoncé's new athleisure collection, Ivy Park, has been flying off of shelves since it dropped last month, but there might be a grim story behind those threads.
According to Britain's The Sun, the high-end workout line, which sells at Nordstrom and Topshop, is actually made in a sweatshop in Sri Lanka.
A 22-year-old sewing-machine operator told the newspaper that she lives in a 100-room boarding house near the factory in the town of Katunayake. “All we do is work, sleep, work, sleep,’’ she said, adding that her daily wage is $6.17, just over half the average income in the country.
The worker, a farmer’s daughter from a remote village 200 miles away, shares a 10-foot by 10-foot room with her 19-year-old sister. Each of them pays rent of $27.08 a month. “We don’t have our own kitchen or shower; it’s just a small bedroom,’’ she says. “We have to share the shower block with the men, so there isn’t much privacy. It is shocking and many of the women are very scared. We don’t have much spare money and what we do have we send back to our family.”
Arcadia Group, the company that owns Topshop and manufactures the line, told The Sun it has strict rules for its suppliers but falls short of denying The Sun's claims. “When customers buy our goods, they have to be sure [the products] have been made under acceptable conditions. That means without exploiting the people who make them.” Arcadia added that all suppliers must provide “decent working conditions.”
While the manufacturing plant where Ivy Park is made isn't breaking any laws, the article does paint a grim picture of how workers — especially women — are treated. Jakub Sobik, from a group called Anti-Slavery International, tells The Sun, “This is a form of sweatshop slavery.’’
Not a good look for Beyoncé's brand of female empowerment.
(Photo: Kevin Mazur/WireImage)