It’s six years since the devastating Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh which claimed the lives of 1138 garment workers; and injured 2500.
The remains of the Rana Plaza Factory, Bangladesh 2013
These workers were killed when the dangerously disintegrating building, in which they were working, collapsed. Following the disaster, the building’s many ‘sweat shops’ were exposed. Low paid workers had been crammed in; working long hours to meet tight deadlines and satiate the West’s demand for ‘fast fashion.’ It was later revealed that they were supplying well-known high street brands in Britain.
Last week, to commemorate the anniversary of the Rana Plaza disaster, global organisation: fashionrevolution.org hosted its annual Fashion Revolution Week which strives to: “unite the fashion industry and ignite a revolution to radically change the way our clothes are sourced, produced and purchased.”
Stacey Dooley’s BBC 3 Documentary – ‘Fashion’s Dirty Secrets’
The tide is turning. Finally, after years of rabid ‘fast fashion’ on the high street; consumer awareness and concern about the provenance and impact of our desire for the latest fashion trends; is growing.
This is partly due to celebrities like Stacey Dooley’s BBC 3 documentary: ‘Fashion’s Dirty Secrets’ Slowly, as we, the consumer increasingly demand to know who is making our clothes and in what working conditions they are operating; well-known high street brands are starting to take notice and to examine their supply chains.
At Zulucow, I’m proud to boast that all our bags, belts, cushions and accessories, are finely crafted by a team of craftswomen who work in good conditions and are paid above the average wage.
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Ma Philiippine brings her grandson: Bhupee into the workshop as his mother is out working. (He’s playing with his new colouring book and crayons)
Thanks to ethical campaigners like: Livia Firth who’s been campaigning for social change and environmental justice in the fashion world for years. (She launched ‘Eco Age’ and ‘The Green Carpet Challenge’) Lucy Siegle, the ethical campaigner and Guardian columnist (who also founded ‘The Ethical Awards’ and produced ‘True Cost’ documentary. ) the devastating social and environmental affects of the fashion industry have been exposed and are slowly being addressed.
So lets hope that with the help of more conscious consumers – yes us – and celebrities such as Dooley, Firth and Siegle, Emma Watson, Katherine Hamnett and Vivienne Westwood…we see more fair trade and ethical fashion on the high street; and that skilled producing our clothes are paid well, and shown the respect they deserve.
Some of Zulucow’s skilled artisans and me in the workshop in South Africa.