Would You Die For Someone Else’s Luxury?
The answer is no, but, in Bangladesh, the fate of people is very different. Workers there keep seeing another catastrophe once the flame of the last one dies. Factor roof falls to kill more than a thousand people (Rana Plaza, 2015), The entire building catches fire because it was too old and built with the least care for safety, or short circuits happen and people are forced to stay in.
A month after another factory incident, workers everywhere around the globe are protesting the Bangladeshi sweatshops.
Trust me it’s not just Khaadi that exploits its people, not only Chinese sweatshop workers who don’t get bathroom breaks, and not just Pakistani Sialokoti boys who sew world cup footballs for an absent wage, but it’s everywhere. But now Bangladeshis, Especially their women are sick of it, and while the world fights for rights to sexual liberation, the right to being treated fairly, the right to be harassment-free, which are essentially very important and relevant rights to all human beings, people in Bangla only beg and scream for the right to safe and not deadly office environment and some sanitation.
Every time the Bangladeshi men and women forget their former sweatshop catastrophe another one comes out but the big brands don’t give a fuck. These brands include Zara, H&M, Forever21, Mango and NIKE.
People are dying because you are not asking the right questions. The only way capitalism can be made palatable is through customer pester power, reject and critique and your voice can become something very very usable.
One of the key turning points in recent times that has exposed the issues of the fashion industry is the Rana Plaza catastrophe. In only one day, in one factory in Bangladesh, 1,138 people were killed and 2,500 people injured. How? The reason for this disaster was due to the structural failure of the building which has now been stated as the deadliest structural failure incident in modern history.
Mohammed Alamgir, a vendor said:
My son died, He was with me in the store just before the incident. I told him to go home and have dinner. Ten minutes after he left, I heard some big noise. I came out and saw a large fire.
Fair-trade brands are taking the initiative to make an impact and giving consumers the opportunity to no longer contribute to this exploitative industry. One of the core companies taking charge of this issue is the Fashion Revolution and their suggestion to all individuals is to ask the brand you choose to buy from – “who made my clothes?”
Heard of the poverty trap?
Where people are born into poverty and they are likely to stay in poverty and raise their own children their because that of the absence of exposure and risks that getting rich demands, the absent bridges and links that are needed are why poor remain poor. Also because the rich keep getting richer, as they know to maintain their lives.
Now introducing the Sweatshops Trap:
Generation of sweatshop workers raises another generation of sweatshop workers because the urgency of the child producing his own food and fabric or even electricity or sanitation bill is so much that school jumps out of the window ASAP. Like it never existed. Thus generation after generation, the sweatshops create more and poorer workers, who are stuck there and won’t leave even when they want to because they lack the awareness, tools, and courage to.
As consumers we have already become aware of fair-trade foods and other products, so why not fashion?
The issue stands in the values we see in garments. We need to start looking past the aesthetic value of a brand and towards the other elements of a brand. It is a very very hard step, especially in a society like our own, where Khaadi exploits its female workers, where kids sew footballs for nothing per product that sells for many dollars more than their weekly wage.
Fashion is considered a form of art and if that’s true, we should be seeking fashion that reflects human values & individualism. Its time for all of us to start looking at fashion as a political statement, a personal contribution to the history of fashion.
Verdict? Well, here’s the verdict:
Also, think how much power you have at your disposal with all the tweets, Facebook posts, even Instagram likes, and dislike, use it! Maybe your nothingness from homes can be turned into someone’s life being saved. It a far-fetched shot, but a definitely worth trying a shot.