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The Rolling Stones Show No Sympathy for Shein

The Rolling Stones have called for an end to a merchandising deal with Shein after learning of abuse allegations in the fast-fashion brand’s supply chain.

Famous for hits like “Satisfaction” and “Sympathy for the Devil,” the rock band pulled support for a collection of graphic tees and other apparel and accessories released last week to honor its 60th anniversary.

Merchandising services group Bravado International purchased the rights to trade on The Rolling Stones brand in 2018, but the musicians took exception to the recent choice to partner with Shein, according to U.K. media outlet I News. “This is a licensing deal with Bravado Inc. and as such they have the rights to exploit the brand on merchandise,” read a statement from the band, made up of members Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood. “We do not want to be associated with Shein, having been made aware of the recent revelations about the treatment of workers in its supply chain, and have requested the line be terminated.”

'The Rolling Stones' branded products were still visible in Google Image Search results on Wednesday, though the items were pulled from
‘The Rolling Stones’ branded products were still visible in Google search results on Wednesday, though the items were pulled from Google Image Search

On Tuesday, The Independent wrote that Bravado had confirmed the termination of the licensing agreement, and as of this week, items have been pulled from Shein’s e-commerce site. The outlet also ran a commentary from a Shein spokesperson, which stated that the company “takes the welfare of workers at its suppliers extremely seriously and does not tolerate forced labor.”

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Though more than a decade old, Shein has skyrocketed to success in recent seasons due to its massive assortment and impossibly low prices, which have proven especially resonant with Gen Z shoppers. But the company has been dogged by allegations of sweatshop-like conditions and toxic products throughout its meteoric rise.

A November report from Bloomberg News, which commissioned laboratory testing of Shein apparel, concluded that items shipped to American consumers were made with cotton from China’s Xinjiang region. Products from the province have been outlawed for sale in the U.S. under the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act. Within the same month, activist network Greenpeace released product testing results showing that Shein items shipped to Germany contained hazardous concentrations of phthalates, formaldehyde and nickel that violated E.U. regulatory limits.

Faced with this week’s contract termination, the group maintained that its supplier code of conduct is aligned with International Labor Organization (ILO) conventions as well as local laws and regulations, and that suppliers that fail to “remediate their practices” are subject to penalties including the termination of contracts. The China-based e-tailer also said that it works with leading agencies to conduct audits of its supply chain and has “confirmed no forced labor violations.”