It’s a sad day when Beyoncé’s Ivy Park range is under investigation for unethical production practices. Sad indeed, but not all leggings-buying has to come to a halt while investigations into that brand are ongoing.
In a widely discussed report by The Sun, it’s been alleged that Ivy Park is made in Sri Lankan sweatshops, where seamstresses working 9.75 hour shifts five days a week make the equivalent of only $6.18 a day. One factory worker told The Sun she made 18,500 rupees a month ($277), which is about half the average wage in Sri Lanka. Considering each item of Ivy Park clothing sells for between $20 and $230, you can see the clear disparity.
Ivy Park is under further investigation, and a Topshop spokesperson told The Sun, “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 work very closely with our suppliers and their factories to ensure compliance.” Additionally, it’s been reported by WWD that all Ivy Park-affiliated factory workers, among those in the Sri Lankan factory, are paid above the country’s minimum wage. Regardless, those are some pretty heavy accusations for a brand built on the idea of empowering women — especially as it’s not the first time Topshop has been outed for using sweatshop labor.
If anything, all this controversy about labor rights should have you thinking about how one of the most-worn items in your closet is affecting the world at large. Change begins with the consumer, so if you want to be an advocate for ethical production, put your money where your values are. It is possible to shop, even on a budget, for stylish activewear that’s clearly produced using fair work standards and sustainable resourcing — here are eight brands we're loving right now.