Yesterday marked the 5th anniversary of the Rana Plaza disaster when 1,138 garment workers died due to the collapse of an unsafe factory in Bangladesh. And its my 3rd #fashionrevolutionweek writing a blog reflecting on that tragedy.
Sometimes it is easy to get discouraged by the fact that such a shocking event hasn’t caused a seismic change in the attitudes and behaviour of consumers and the fashion industry. When you see whole school uniform sets being sold for £4 and people saying ‘I don’t know how they do it that cheap’ (could it be partly by paying the person who made it so little that they can’t afford to send their own children to school?) you start to wonder. Especially looking at the amazing outcry and brilliant effects we are seeing in the fight against plastic pollution on the back of the ‘Blue Plane’ programs. Do we need to make dolphins and sea turtles work in sweatshop garment factories and send Sir David Attenborough to do a documentary to get real change?
Well, that could be a back-up plan if all else fails. But in the meantime we refuse to give in to despair! As anyone working to campaign for positive change will tell you, the worst enemy is the attitude of ‘I know its a big problem, but there is nothing I can do about it’. That is the amazing thing about #fashionrevolution – the campaign was started as a result of Rana Plaza. Anyone can take a picture of their favourite item of clothing and ask the manufacturer #whomademyclothes. Anyone can reject throwaway fashion and buy fewer garments that are made to last. And anyone can choose Fair Trade clothing where possible. Fair Trade has safe working conditions, transparency and accountability and no child labour embedded into its 10 founding principles. Its commitment to respect for the environment also means less use of plastics and harmful dyes – so its even good for the turtles too! #TradeFairLiveFair.