Ivy Park, the active lifestyle brand by Beyoncé Knowles and Topshop, found itself in hot water Sunday when a British tabloid said the collection was made in sweatshops.
At Mas Holdings, the factory in Sri Lanka where some of Ivy Park is produced, seamstresses are reportedly paid 4.30 pounds ($6.19) per day, according to The Sun. A 22-year-old sewing machine operator told the publication that her monthly wages are roughly 18,500 rupees (about $126).
But while The Sun’s story said that’s about half the country’s average of $235, the national minimum is about $92 per month, which means that the factory isn’t breaking any local laws.
With that being said, the aforementioned machinist said she works an almost 10-hour day, Monday to Friday, with 30 minutes for lunch, in addition to Saturdays and overtime, and that she and her sister share a bedroom in a boarding house for which they pay 4,000 rupees ($27.31) per month.
“This is a form of sweatshop slavery,” Jakub Sobik of Anti-Slavery International told The Sun. “There are a number of elements here that tick the boxes in terms of slavery, the low pay, restriction of women’s movement at night and locking them in.”
But Ivy Park has refuted these claims, noting its “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. We expect our suppliers to meet our code of conduct and we support them in achieving these requirements,” the brand responded in a statement.
Ivy Park, which launched last month, retails from $14 for an elastic logo headband to $265 for a full-length bodysuit. Mas Holdings employs 74,000 workers (70 percent are women) in 48 factories in 15 countries throughout Asia and also makes goods for Speedo International, Ultimo and Triumph.