Rolling Stones ends deal with SHEIN after 1 week over labour abuse allegations

Legendary English rock and roll band The Rolling Stones have terminated a deal with SHEIN over alleged exploitative working conditions at suppliers for the Chinese online fast-fashion retailer. The collaboration, which was negotiated by Bravado International Group Merchandising Services which is part of Universal Music Group, was called off just one week after the agreement was made.

The U-turn followed a Channel 4 investigative documentary titled Untold: Inside the SHEIN Machine which was aired on 17 October. The British broadcaster reported that workers at manufacturers supplying the brand were working for as long as 18 hours per day in exchange for a pittance of as little as 3p per clothing item. And workers are required to work on weekends with only one day off per month. Although SHEIN does not own or manage any of those concerned factories it works with.

In response to the labour abuse allegations, SHEIN said in a statement that it is “extremely concerned by the claims presented by Channel 4, which would violate the Code of Conduct agreed to by every SHEIN supplier.”

“Any non-compliance with this code is dealt with swiftly, and we will terminate partnerships that do not meet our standards…We have requested specific information from Channel 4 so that we can investigate,” the statement added.

The announcement of the partnership between SHEIN and The Rolling Stones gave birth to a new collection to commemorate the band’s 60th anniversary, which included a white shirt imprinted with the symbolic Rolling Stones tongue-and-lips logo, a mobile phone case, and a cap, according to the i Newspaper on Monday 28 November who also flagged SHEIN’s supply chain scandal. Relevant items are seen to have been removed from SHEIN’s website as of publication.

After being alerted of the issue, a spokesperson for The Rolling Stones said, “We would like to thank i for bringing this to our attention. This is a licensing deal with Bravado Inc and as such they have the rights to exploit the brand on merchandise.”

The statement went on to say “we do not want to be associated with SHEIN, having been made aware of the recent revelations about the treatment of workers in its supply chain, and have requested the line be terminated.” According to a spokesperson for Bravado, they have already terminated the licensing agreement with SHEIN.

Responding to the latest contract scrap, SHEIN said the company takes the welfare of workers at its suppliers “extremely seriously” and “does not tolerate forced labour”. It also said, “Through the SHEIN Responsible Resourcing Programme, we work with leading agencies to conduct ongoing, unannounced audits of supply chains, which have confirmed no forced labour violations.”


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