Two years ago on 24th April 2013, more than 1130 people were killed when the Rana Plaza garment factory collapsed in Dhaka, Bangladesh. A further 2500 people were injured. It was the worst accident the fashion industry has seen.
Large cracks appeared in the building on April 23, but despite grave concerns and fears about the building’s safety, workers were ordered back to work the next day.
This terrible tragedy had a huge affect on me, not as a small Australian made designer of children's clothing with no connection to Rana Plaza, but as a consumer in a global economy. It made me ask the question, 'Have I worn clothes made by someone in Rana Plaza?'
In the wake of the catastrophe, many of the brands whose clothing was manufactured in Rana Plaza signed an international safety accord designed to give garment factory workers the right to stop work if their work or working environment becomes unsafe.
However, most of these brands only signed onto the accord after sustained pressure from the public.
While the safety accord is a step in the right direction, social and environmental catastrophes in our fashion supply chain continue.
April 24 has become a day to remember the 1130 people who lost their lives in Bangladesh making low cost clothing for the West.
It is also a day to raise awareness on the current unsustainable production model, the life-threatening hazards, and our shared responsibility as consumers in a global economy who buy clothing made in garment factories in the world’s poorest countries.
This year, consumers are encouraged to connect with the individuals in the supply chains of the brands they wear, by asking those brands: ‘Who made my clothes?’
What can you do on April 24 – Fashion Revolution Day?
- Find out about the brands that you, or your children wear. Take a photo of yourself or your child wearing an item of clothing inside out.
- Share on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Tag @fash_rev and tag the brand asking them the question: ‘Who Made My Clothes?’ For example ‘Today I’m wearing my shirt #insideout because I want to ask (@brand/retailer) ‘Who made my clothes’?
- Tell your friends, family and colleagues about Fashion Revolution Day and get them to participate!
- Head to fashionrevolution.org and download the free digital assets to share on facebook, twitter, and Instagram and contribute to the awareness campaign using the hashtag #fashrev.
- Buy clothes from brands you know have a transparent supply chain, and who partner with manufacturers who pay their workers a living wage and ensure safe working conditions.
What does Little Emperor do to support the fashion revolution?
As a designer and manufacturer of clothing, I want to make sure the tragedy of Rana Plaza is never repeated. Our team have implemented some practices that go some way towards challenging the status quo in the fashion and garment manufacturing industries:
Transparent supply chain.
- From April 24th 2015, we are including ‘Supply Chain Info’ in the product description of each of our garments in our online shop. We want to make it easy for you to know who made your children's clothes, and how and where the fabric was made. See Supply Chain Info for our popular boy's long sleeve tee.
Support organic cotton producers.
- Organic cotton is better for the health of all the workers in the supply chain, as well as for the end consumer as it means no pesticides washed into soil and rivers, and workers and consumers not exposed to pesticides or formaldehyde.
- Organic cotton currently only makes up tiny 0.4% of global cotton production. The organic cotton industry needs our support and investment to grow!
Raise awareness on April 24
- By participating in the annual global social media awareness campaign we make sure the victims of the Rana Plaza factory collapse are not forgotten.
- By publishing this blog post and talking about the unsustainable practices of the fashion industry, we hope to encourage people to find out more about the clothing brands they buy, to inspire change, and to ensure the tragedy of Rana Plaza never happens again.
Looking forward to seeing your labels worn #insideout this Friday!