Is Beyoncé's fitness line Ivy Park empowering women or robbing them?
UK newspaper The Sun broke the news that Sri Lankan workers who make Beyoncé's Ivy Park athleisure line clothing earn less than $7 a day. In their estimation, that means they'd have to work over a month to buy a pair of $144 Ivy Park leggings.
Shortly after the allegations were raised, Ivy Park released a statement to Women's Wear Daily. “Ivy Park has a rigorous ethical trading program," they said. "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.”
The brand also noted that its suppliers are expected to meet Ivy Park's code of conduct. As WWD points out, the minimum daily wage in Sri Lanka is 400 rupees or USD$2.68. Ivy Park workers are then earning twice the daily requirement for Sri Lanka.
Assuming these allegations check out, Beyoncé could actually be helping these Sri Lankan women (and I really, really hope that she is). Considering the empowering message behind Beyoncé's Ivy Park line and the dreamy park where she spent her childhood, it will be especially disappointing if she's attempting to build up Western women on one hand — by selling them something — while exploiting others.
The clothes are made at MAS Holdings Factory, a company that's worked with Speedo, Triumph and Ultimo. It's also worked with Lululemon, Nike and Patagonia. An Ivy Park spokesman told WWD that each Ivy Park factory was "painstakingly" chosen. Beyoncé is notorious for her meticulousness, so let's wait for the next dispatch and hope that she didn't let this slip through the cracks — or even worse, exploit women on purpose.