Ivy Park Clothing line = Sweatshop slaves?

Sweatshop Labour in Beyonce’s new line

Like shopping fairtrade? Then Ivy Park is not for you.

If you listen to pop then you’ve heard of Beyonce’ and Jay-Z . Beyonce’ makes millions. She’s another one of those celebrities a lot of us wish we could be, or we did until recently. Beyonce’ has recently been accused of using “sweatshop slaves” to make her new active wear clothing line “IvyPark” with the intention of “empowering women through sport”.

“My goal with Ivy Park is to push the boundaries of ­athletic wear and to support and inspire women who understand that beauty is more than your physical appearance,” Beyonce stated in a appearance at one of the stores her brand will be sold at globally. Well I don’t know about you, but I’m sold. I mean I’m all about empowering women, and to have a clothing line that empowers women but also reminds us that beauty is more than what’s on the outside. However, being a celebrity Beyonce should know by now, even I know by now that her company is gonna get the good once over by everyone. After all when you’re a celebrity you can’t do anything without the press getting wind of it. 

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According the UK’s The Sun, the people making those clothing that are supposed to empower us are in “sweatshop slave” conditions. The workers at the Sri Lankan factory in the city of Katunayake are poor young women who live in a 100-room boarding house, working more than 60 hours a week. They get no benefits or vacation time, and to top it off there paid a whopping $6.17 in USD a day piecing together clothing items priced anywhere between $30 and $200 on the market. Disgusting if you ask me.

It doesn’t stop there, The Sun, interviewed some of the workers and what they had to say just gets worse. According to a 22 year old seamstress all they do is “work, sleep, work and sleep”, she shares a 10 foot by 10 foot room with her 19 year old sister. A 22-year-old sewing machine operator told the newspaper, “We don’t have our own kitchen or shower; it’s just a small bedroom”. She went on to say, “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.” The young woman says that she’s not able to survive on her monthly income of $235.49 as most of the money goes towards paying rent which is $27.08 a month,  and helping out their family in a nearby village. Another worker also said, “When they talk about women and empowerment this is just for the foreigners. They want the foreigners to think everything is OK.”. I don’t know about you, but it’s not okay to me at all. 

Here’s a video showing how wearing Beyonce’s activewear will empower you with sport, that is unless your the one making the clothing.

Despite the low wages, the factory that produces Ivy Park isn’t breaking any laws. The minimum wage in Sri Lanka is about $6 a day. Arcadia Group, the company that owns Topshop, told the Sun it has strict rules for its suppliers.“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.”

So what does Beyonce have to say about this? I mean it is her company and her clothing these people are making. Does she not care what is going on in the factory that’s making these clothes to “empower women through sport”? Representatives for Ivy Park issued a statement refuting these claims, as fashion trade journal Women’s Wear Daily points out. “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.”

Hmm, so the women that work there are just making these things up? Or is Beyonce just ignoring what these individuals are saying?

I’m disappointed that Beyonce’ also known as Bey or any celeb would not do this research before production on her product. Its a sad day when the fact that they are paid so low to make things that are charged at such a high mark-up is exploitation at its finest…. disgusting… People will make excuses for Beyonce and she’ll make her apologizes and in a few days this will be old news. She’ll claim she did her homework and researched the company, but can’t we call a spade a spade. Beyonce is worth a whopping $450 million dollars and your telling me she couldn’t find a ethically, sustainable company that could make her product? I don’t know about you but I just did a blog on celebrities that are trying to change the world with ethical, sustainable fashion and I don’t see them under fire for producing there clothing lines using “sweatshop slaves”. Well I guess in Beyonce’s case she’s getting press which in our society will get notice to her clothing line. What do they say “Bad press, is good press”. So let me ask you, Do you find a 55c/hour wage acceptable? Do you not consider it abuse to be paid extremely low wages relative the profits generated from your labor? Do you think these people actually have a choice? Is there a garment factory across the street paying $20 per hour with benefits? I doubt it. Why do you think American companies have their products made in other countries? Bottom line, these workers are slaves because they DON’T have choices. They were born into a country that is dominated by Western imperialism and they have to work for these wages so they might not starve to death. It really is that simple.It’d be amusing to watch you try to feed your family on 55 cents an hour. I know Beyonce isn’t worried about any of those issue.

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