In April this year the Rana Plaza building collapsed in Bangaldesh killing over a 1,000 people, mainly female garment workers, and injuring thousands more.
Six months on what has changed in the fashion industry?
On the plus side, a hundred retailers and brands have signed up to the legally binding Accord for Fire and Building Safety, covering 1,557 garment factory.
On the downside, since April only Primark has actually paid any compensation to the injured workers and families of those killed making their clothes. There continue to be more fires and deaths of garment workers in Bangladesh. The Bangladeshi government and the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers Export Association appear to be taking little action to improve matters.
Not to mention that globally millions of garment workers continue to receive a wage that is not enough for them to live on. Isn't that just a slow death?
So one small step has been taken, but the industry still has a way to go.
Our Arthur & Henry shirts are ethically made in Bangalore in Southern India. We choose to produce in India not just because it's close to where our organic cotton is grown and spun and woven but also because we believe that trade, done properly, with provision of decent work can help lift people out of poverty. If we, a new, small company can do it, then why can't others?
And we're not alone. There's a growing demand that the fashion industry clean up its act. A loose coalition has formed to call for a Fashion Revolution Day to be held every April to remember the tragedy and campaign and act that things change for the better. We're proud to be part of it.
In the meantime, if you'd like to find out more about what's been happening:-
- the BBC has a report on how the survivors are doing
- ITV's Laura Kuenssberg was in Bangladesh recently and has some good points on how consumers here are linked to issues there
- the Clean Clothes Campaign have produced a short report
- The Ethical Trading Initiative has a timely reminder not just to look at Bangladesh