After a fantastic #Ethicalhour session on Monday 22nd April on Twitter. I made some great connections to start my networking journey throughout the ethical fashion network, learning from each other to help drive the industry forward even more and support pioneers like Safia Minney who has already created successful brands like Po-zu footwear & People Tree.
The documentary has touched my soul in so many ways, and inspired the drive behind creating my business The Maverick Store. It takes you through the real goings on of what goes on in manufacturing in the fashion industry in Bangladesh. It has surely sparked my research journey in researching more about workers rights, fashion law and what the future of sustainable fashion should be.
Since 2013, the Rana Plaza factory collapse has sparked a huge debate within the fast fashion industry about working conditions and cheap labour. No one should die for fashion. The collapse of the factory on the outskirts of the capital, Dhaka, in April 2013 killed more than 1100 people, placing scrutiny on major brands and sparking demands for better safety in the world's second largest exporter of ready made garments.
6 years on, large fashion companies are still putting pressure on Bangladeshi garment suppliers to keep prices low and make clothing faster, a new report by the Human Rights Watch which was released today.
The 66 page report, "Paying for a bus ticket and expecting to Fly':How Apparel Brand Purchasing Practices Drive Labour Abuses," identifying key practices by clothing companies that fuel abusive cost-cutting methods by factories that harm worker. Click here to find the full report.
Human rights watch interviewed people that work in factories in countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Myanmar and suppliers from South and South East Asia. The experts working with the people have over 10 years experience working for brands placing orders with factories, along side other industry experts.
There are many aspects of the sourcing processes for brands that can effect where an item of clothing is made. If the brand is known globally they might own their own factories, and split the orders to different factories even by size. The complex process make it difficult to trace production and in the end can effect the productivity and quality of work coming out of the work force, especially how the workers are treated.
Factories can also be subcontracted, this means that two or three brands could be coming out of the same factory, putting pressure on the workers to work at a faster pace with no breaks or any extra pay for the work they produce.
The Human Rights Watch interviewed a Pakistani lady called Fawzia Khan, a 24 year old unmarried woman described the relentless pressure she is under -
"I hate the jail-like atmosphere at the workplace, the ban on going to the bathroom, the ban on getting up to drink water, the ban on getting up at all during work hours...and the one hour that we are supposed to get off during the day is actually only half an hour in practise. I don't remember the last time I got a full one hour break."
Read the full report and more in-depth details here. I'm off to read the 66 page report, I will keep you posted on any interesting details in the next blog post.