On 24 April 2013 - exactly 10 years ago yesterday - the Rana Plaza garment factory in Bangladesh collapsed, killing more than 1,100 people and injuring over 2,500. The factory produced clothes for several well-known brands. The disaster drew attention to the poor working conditions and low wages of garment factory workers in developing countries, and sparked a global conversation about the need for ethical and sustainable fashion.
One of the main issues highlighted by the Rana Plaza tragedy was the use of cheap synthetic fabrics in fast fashion. These fabrics are often made from petroleum-based products and take thousands of years to decompose, causing environmental damage and pollution. In addition, the production of synthetic fabrics is often resource intensive and involves the use of toxic chemicals.
Organic clothing, on the other hand, is made from materials grown without the use of synthetic fertilisers, pesticides or genetically modified organisms. Organic cotton, for example, is grown using natural methods that promote soil health and biodiversity, and is often produced by small farmers who are paid a fair wage for their work. By buying organic clothing, consumers can support sustainable farming practices and reduce their impact on the environment.
Fair fashion is another important term that emerged after the Rana Plaza disaster. Fair fashion refers to clothing that is produced in a socially responsible and ethical way, with a focus on fair wages, safe working conditions and workers' rights. This includes ensuring that workers are paid a living wage, have access to safe and healthy working conditions and are not subjected to exploitative practices such as forced or child labour.
Fair fashion also means taking a holistic approach to sustainability, considering the environmental impact of garment production, transport and disposal, as well as the social impact on workers and communities. This can include using renewable energy sources, reducing waste and emissions, and supporting local communities and economies.
In summary, the Rana Plaza tragedy has drawn attention to the urgent need for ethical and sustainable fashion and underlined the importance of organic and fair trade clothing. By choosing organic and fair trade fashion, consumers can support sustainable agricultural practices, reduce environmental impact and ensure that workers are treated fairly and with dignity.
As consumers, we have the power to demand change and support brands that prioritise sustainability and social responsibility.