From the moment that allegations of racism and sexual harassment by Topshop owner Sir Philip Green arose in October, speculation around Green’s involvement in Beyoncé’s Ivy Park line began to percolate. Since its launch in 2016, the popular athleisure label has been a fifty-fifty partnership between Beyoncé’s company, Parkwood, and Green’s Arcadia Group—but the star put an end to that on November 15, with her company announcing that it has bought out the British businessman’s shares, effectively ending their professional relationship. In a statement released to the Financial Times, it was made clear that after yearlong discussions, the Ivy Park brand had been fully acquired by Parkwood. Though it was noted that Topshop “will fulfill the existing orders,” the underlying message of the missive was unequivocal: Ivy Park is under new management.
While the deal appears to have been set in motion prior to the Green scandal, it’s no less of a power move. Beyoncé’s success as a fashion entrepreneur rivals her accomplishments in music, and cutting ties with Green is about more than just business. Accused of bullying his employees, belittling women, making derogatory comments about minorities, and then attempting to suppress news reports via an injunction, Green and his alleged actions are now at odds with everything Beyoncé and her brand have come to stand for. (Green has denied the claims.) Feminism and the empowerment of women of color have been a core part of Ivy Park’s message from the beginning. From choosing activist spokespeople such as Laverne Cox and Yara Shahidi, to donating gear to the nonprofit Figure Skating in Harlem and community outreach projects, the singer has founded her label on socially conscious values.
Beyoncé certainly understands the importance of aligning with the right people. Two years ago, on the heels of successful collaborations with celebrities including Kate Moss and a slew of British designers—Marques’Almeida, Preen, and Mary Katrantzou just to name a few—Topshop made for an ideal partner. However, with Green’s alleged misconduct now front and center in the #MeToo spotlight, a fresh start feels necessary. Indeed, Ivy Park’s next chapter is poised to be bigger, better, and more aligned with the interests of its customers.