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The legendary rock band the Rolling Stones expressed shock when discovering that the workers making their 60th anniversary merchandise, in partnership with the fast-fashion brand Shein, had been paid only a few cents per item, worked 18-hour days, and received only one day off per month. In response, within a day of learning of these labor abuse claims, the band demanded their representatives call off the deal. Shein immediately rebuffed and denied the accusations, asserting that the company “takes the welfare of workers at its suppliers extremely seriously and does not tolerate forced labour.” The rapid response satisfied many loyal consumers, who appreciate the brand’s up-to-date styles. But this incident is hardly the first time that Shein has been accused of sourcing its incredibly cheap clothes from incredibly troubling sources. Nor have accusations of labor violations been kept a secret. But the company still sold some $16 billion worth of merchandise in the first half of 2022, and it expected that figure to reach $30 billion for the entire year. For consumers who want cheap clothes, made in ways that do not raise serious ethical concerns, well, as the Stones can tell them: You can’t always get what you want. But if you’re willing to relax those standards, you might just find, you’ll get a whole closet full of new clothes to wear.

Source: Alice Hearing, “Rolling Stones Want to Cancel Their Deal with Fast-Fashion Brand Shein after Just 1 Week over Labor Abuse Claims,” Fortune, November 29, 2022