Whether or not you watched BBC 2’s recent documentary on it, chances are most of you are familiar with the tragic Rana Plaza factory collapse. The Bangladeshi clothing factory collapsed on 24th April 2013, killing over 1,100 people and severely injuring many more.
Whilst this horrific incident shed light on the shortcomings of the fashion industry for while, I don’t think it’s received as much attention as it should have. Despite the terrible working conditions of garment factories being exposed, shoppers still flock to stores like Primark and Matalan. Both of these stores used the Rana Plaza factory to manufacture some of their clothing.
BBC 2’s recent documentary ‘This World: Clothes to Die For’ did a fantastic job of discussing the awful incident and highlighting what needs to be done.
The documentary is difficult to watch in places, with one particular survivor recounting the story of how she had to amputate her own arm. However, the BBC have done an excellent job in bringing the disgusting working conditions in garment factories to the forefront of the media.
At the end of the day, thousands of deaths and life-changing injuries should not be the price paid just so we can access cheap clothing. Next time you’re tempted to buy that £3 top, I urge you to question how it was made.
However, the documentary does end on a positive note. It gives us an insight into a new factory that one of the volunteer rescuers set up. The factory is called Aparajeyo (undefeated) and provides a safe working environment for survivors of the Rana Plaza disaster.
Whilst the documentary gives us a glimmer of hope, it ends with the statistic that clothing exports from Bangladesh grew by 16% in the year after the disaster. After doing some research on the issue, I found that an organisation called Fashion Revolution are working towards a better future for garment workers across third world countries.
Instead of spending the next 2 hours browsing ASOS, I urge you to take a couple of minutes to visit Fashion Revolution’s website here. Get involved and help to make the world a better place for the women and children that make your clothes.