Since the devastating collapse of the Rana Plaza garment factory building in Bangladesh, which killed over 1,100 people - we've all been shocked. And hopefully we've all started questioning: how is it possible for a t-shirt to be made and sold for $5? Who makes that garment? What is the effect of our purchase on who made it?
Instead of wetting our pants with the excitement of bargain fashion - think big picture. Who are we hurting for a quick fashion hit?
Conceived by three digital media students from the "Digital Harvard" - Hyper Island as a reaction to the collapse, The Rana Plaza looks like a fashion store website - but the clothes and accessories don't really exist. Instead the payments are going to help ActionAid Australia with human rights programs around the world.
Pretty cool, huh?
Make a purchase from this online store - and you'll be helping others in the process. This experience pushes for better and safer conditions for garment workers in their own countries.
KMART and Target have became the first Australian retailers to sign onto an accord to improve safety in their factories. But this weekend 140 female garment workers fell sick at their factory outside Bangladesh's capital Dhaka after apparently drinking contaminated water, the second such incident of its kind in two weeks. Officials confirmed the workers were making garments for western labels.
Of Bangladesh’s two million garment industry workers, 85% are women and girls. Most earn the legal minimum wage of just 0.16 Australian dollars per hour. Factory workers are routinely harassed and bullied in their workplaces and denied their legal rights such as overtime, paid leave, childcare, and safe working conditions.
Catherine Esposito of ActionAid Australia said that boycotting fashion brands was not the answer - as it could lead to job losses and even more hardship for workers around the world.