Last week seven garment workers died tragically and needlessly in a factory fire in Dhaka, Bangladesh. This is far from an isolated incident – it comes two months after a fire broke out in another Dhaka garment factory killing over 120 workers (10% of the factory's 1200 workforce according to War On Want). People are dying to make our clothes. A dress is not worth a life and no one can justify to the contrary.
London Fashion Week is in full swing and there is much there to celebrate (highlights coming soon). But, there is a lot about this “glamourous” industry that we don’t see - that the brands and stores don’t shout about in their marketing and PR campaigns. This season - the first fashion week since the Rana Plaza disaster in April which killed over 1100 garment workers in Bangladesh - I am more mindful about this than ever.
Flicking through the latest fashion magazines we are bombarded with images of a woman. She is most often tall, thin, has a flawless complexion, perfect proportions. But how realistic is this image? Does she look like you? Or anyone you know? I doubt it.
Riding home on the tube yesterday, I saw two women clinging to their oversized paper bags, stamped with the Primark logo, bulging with that day’s haul. Since moving to London, I have reluctantly got very used to this sight. But I wasn’t expecting to see it this week. I had idealistically (or naively) thought that last month’s building collapse in Bangladesh would have at least made consumers think twice about shopping there so gleefully until some questions about their supply chain were answered.
How would you like it if you went to a restaurant, ordered a flame-grilled steak, and it came smothered in fatty gravy, slopped onto the plate with a dubious skin on top, like a 70s school dinner? And when you queried whether this really was the dish you ordered, the waiter replied, “It IS a flame-grilled steak, we just serve it like this.”
Didn’t think so.