Why do we need Fashion Revolution Week?

  • by Alan Taylor

On 24 April 2013, the Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh collapsed. More than 1,100 people died and another 2,500 were injured, making it the fourth largest industrial disaster in history. This is when @fash_rev was born, an aim to address the tragic human rights issues that are associated with the global fashion supply chain. ⁠

Rana Plaza was a factory complex in Savar, Bangladesh, where more than 5,000 people worked making clothes for some of the biggest global fashion brands and retailers. The victims were mostly young women.⁠

This tragedy was preventable. In the aftermath, survivors told stories of how they noticed cracks in the building and knew the building was hazardous just days before the collapse

People had to dig through the rubble looking for clothing labels in order to figure out which brands were sourcing from Rana Plaza. In some cases, it took weeks for brands to determine why their labels were found in the ruins and what sort of purchasing agreements they had with those suppliers. The culpable brands weren’t limited to fast fashion retailers but included mid-priced brands too.⁠

The reality is that our clothes have gone on a long journey before they reach stores and webshops, passing through the hands of cotton farmers, spinners, weavers, dyers, sewers and many more.⁠

People are still regularly dying in factory fires and accidents. Although wages have increased in some countries where clothing is made, many people in the supply chain are still paid too little and struggle to afford life’s most basic necessities. Women textile and garment workers frequently face sexual harassment and violence in the workplace. Trade unions and workers’ ability to organise and fight for their rights continue to be hamstrung by employers and governments.⁠

Fashion Revolution week runs the week of the anniversary of the Rana Plaza tragedy with campaigns, events and discussions to raise awareness and attempt to solve the problems of supply chain opacity and workers rights. ⁠

What do you think and how could the industry improve? Let us know in the comments below.⁠

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