The garment industry of my motherland, Bangladesh, is burning, collapsing and struggling to stay afloat in the world economy. The worst part? All goods belong to the lowest bidder. No safety regulations, no living wage and no respect for the health, bodies and wellbeing of workers. As the Bangladeshi government scrambles in the face of another “accident,” thousands are protesting against abhorrent conditions in Bangladesh’s Savar Industrial Zone. The names of the retailers’ tags discovered in the rubble: Mango, Joe Fresh and United Colors of Benetton. I can’t help but lament the irony of these names—evocative of the tropical, the colorful and alive, much like the verdant landscape of Bangladesh. The same sickening feeling I had on November 24, 2012, when a factory fire killed 112 Bangladeshi workers. Post-Thanksgiving meal, I jumped to sweep up Black Friday deals. More ironic names: Faded Glory. Gap. Buried among these lost garments are the bodies of folks, mostly women, who knew that something was terribly wrong with the building when they clocked into work. Now, where do we fit it in?
We here at Fashionista are continually impressed by the efforts the Model Alliance is making to improve working conditions within the industry, so we're teaming up with them to bring you the latest from their movement. We'll be hearing from them about everything from broadening child labor laws to changing the sample size. Today, on the anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire, Model Alliance founder Sara Ziff writes about the importance of extending child labor laws to protect young models.