Beyoncé said that she wants her Ivy Park sports wear to support and inspire women and Topshop claims it “empowers women through sport”.
But according to a report in the Sun, UK, Ivy Park range is made using a sweatshop in Sri Lanka.
The factory in question in Sri Lanka is called MAS Holdings. The workforce is reportedly made up mostly of young women from surrounding villages. These young women often have to work in excess of 60 hours per week to make ends meet as they earn approx 87c an hour. The Sun reported that most employees are reluctant to speak out for fear of losing their jobs.
Campaigners insist the women are being exploited.
One machinist told The Sun on Sunday: “When they talk about women and empowerment this is just for the foreigners. They want the foreigners to think everything is OK.”
Beyoncé, 34, in business with Topshop owner Sir Phillip Green, launched Ivy Park just last month. Beyoncé previewed the launch at Topshop’s flagship Oxford Street store in London with a raunchy video posted on YouTube.
In the video she said: “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."
“True beauty is in the health of our minds, hearts and bodies."
“I know that when I feel physically strong, I am mentally strong and I wanted to create a brand that made other women feel the same way.”
It would cost these workers more than one month’s wages to buy a pair of Beyoncé’s Ivy Park $200 leggings.
A Topshop spokeswoman said: “Ivy Park has a rigorous ethical trading programme.
“We expect our suppliers to meet our code of conduct and we support them in achieving these requirements.”
A statement by Ivy Park said: "Ivy Park has a rigorous ethical trading programme.
"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."