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Just a week after announcing a merchandise deal with fast-fashion giant Shein, the Rolling Stones have demanded that their representatives terminate it immediately.
The collection featuring the legendary British rock band was launched with the world’s biggest clothes retailer for the group’s 60th anniversary, featuring cheap clothes and accessories bearing the Stones’s iconic tongue-and-lips logo — one T-shirt with a dinosaur print went for $5.39, a phone case $1.80, and a cap $6.
However, just weeks before, Shein had been the focus of an investigation that found evidence of labor abuse in its supply chain. In at least two of its Chinese factories, the report found that manufacturers were being made to work 18-hour days, 7-days a week, with only 1 day off per month. Some were even paid only 3 or 4 cents per item.
The undercover investigation that aired in October—by British broadcaster Channel 4—was widely shared and prompted outrage, but appeared to escape the band’s attention until recently.
When the band was contacted by British newspaper i following the launch of “Shein x Rolling Stones”, they reportedly responded “within hours” calling for the deal’s end.
The deal was signed by Bravado International Group Merchandising Services, owned by Universal Music Group, which bought the rights to the Rolling Stones’ entire back catalog of recorded music and video and the Stones brand in 2018.
A spokesperson for the band said, “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 confirmed that the licensing agreement has been terminated effective immediately.
Fast fashion still rises
Shein had previously come under fire for labor violations after a probe in 2021 found that staff had been working 75-hour weeks, violating local labor laws.
Despite the revelations, Shein remains the world’s third most valuable startup behind ByteDance, the Chinese parent of TikTok, and Elon Musk’s SpaceX. Shein is now worth more than H&M and Zara-parent Inditex combined, according to Bloomberg.
In the first half of 2022, Shein sold $16 billion worth of merchandise and forecasts $30 billion in sales for the whole of the year.
Following the investigation in October, Shein published a statement saying: “Shein engages industry-leading third-party agencies to conduct regular audits of suppliers’ facilities to ensure compliance.
“Suppliers are given a specific timeframe in which to remediate the violations, failing which, Shein takes immediate action against the supplier, including terminating the partnership.”
Shein did not immediately respond to request for comment.
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