On 24th April 2013, a structural failure caused the Rana Plaza complex in Bangladesh to collapse with the loss of 1,134 lives. It became the deadliest garment factory accident in history and the impact on ‘fast fashion’ was felt around the world, with brands like Primark questioning ‘Who made my clothes?’, in detail. The tragedy spawned organisations like the Ethical Trading Initiative and the Business Social Compliance Initiative.
The international community has since committed $280m to help clean up Bangladesh’s Ready Made Garment (RMG) industry. In 2015, an independent report found that only 8 out of 3,425 factories had improved enough to pass inspection. Despite textiles accounting for 81% of the country’s total earnings, pouring money into a government’s coffers clearly won’t solve anything.
From this need to ‘do better’, the Fashion Revolution was born – and with a significant amount of the world’s clothes being made in Africa (and that number set to rise), it is a subject close to Africa Fashion’s heart. Questioning producers about “Who made my clothes?” could prevent a repeat of the Rana Plaza disaster taking African lives.
Walmart, Gap and American Apparel are all committed to doing more to improve the lives of garment workers in developing countries. Dov Charney, Founder of American Apparel, has proposed a ‘Global garment workers minimum wage’ on TV – along with a programme of changes in factory protocols to help keep workers safe.
How can you help? Get involved!
The internet has made it easy to share important stories across the globe. Fashion Revolution encourages you to be curious, to find out from each store you use, “Who made my clothes?”. Taking part is easy, you can find out how over here.
To commemorate the anniversary of the Rana Plaza tragedy, Africa Fashion has commissioned a special shoot with Aramatou, Top Model of Colour 2015 – look out for the images soon!
We encourage you to ask “Who made my clothes?” the nest time you buy. Let us know the answer over on Facebook and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter to get all of the latest stories as soon as they are published.