Sorry to be posting this today, but I happened to come across it this morning.
The Opinion Pages
‘The Deadly Cost of Fashion’
APRIL 14, 2014
Last April 24, Ismail Ferdous, my co-director on this Op-Doc video, photographed the deadliest disaster in garment industry history: the collapse of Rana Plaza in Bangladesh, which killed more than 1,100 workers and injured around 2,500.
His images capture not only the raw destruction and shattered lives, but also the citizen volunteers who worked tirelessly to help rescue victims in the rubble. In the video, he speaks candidly about the trauma of photographing the collapse, where the smell of dead bodies filled the air.
A year later, we explore the uncomfortable question: How does the Rana Plaza collapse relate to the lives of Americans? Much more than you might think. Companies and brands associated with factories in Rana Plaza include Joe Fresh, Mango, Walmart, J.C. Penney and The Children’s Place (though it’s unclear whether all of these had active manufacturing there at the time of the collapse). Some of the clothing labels that he photographed in the rubble can also be found in Manhattan stores.
While Americans are fond of low prices for clothing, some are possible only because workers in Bangladesh (among other countries) toil in sweatshops for meager wages, in dangerous conditions. This needs to change.
We have started the Cost of Fashion campaign to help bring fair compensation to victims of the Rana Plaza collapse and their families, and to encourage apparel companies to support safe working conditions. This Op-Doc is a prelude to a longer documentary that will explore the complexities and impacts of the global garment manufacturing industry.
(**The embedded video has disturbing images.)