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The runways of New York and the factories of Bangladesh could not seem further apart. Yet they both drive a global, 1.5 trillion dollar industry: the fashion industry. And in both cases, the work is performed overwhelmingly by young women and girls--fashion models, on the one hand, and garment workers on the other--both of whom are struggling to assert their rights in a hostile labor environment. Sara Ziff, founder of the Model Alliance took a trip to Dhaka last summer to learn more about the garment industry there and see the conditions on the ground. In this exclusive video, you'll learn about Sara's trip, and her more recent work with international labor rights groups (WRC, ILRF) and activists like Kalpona Akter and Tazreen Factor fire survivor Sumi Abedin. Watch and get the message out: let's put the pressure on major labels to sign on to the Bangladesh Build Fire and Safety Agreement.
I woke up this morning to news that there had been yet another garment factory fire in Bangladesh, which killed 8 night shift workers. A collective shaking our heads is in order, before we get into the very necessary next steps that fashion brands, the Bangladeshi government, garment labor groups, and we, the “fashionistas,” must take. With 900 garment workers dead and counting, the Rana Plaza factory collapse on April 24 is the worst disaster in the garment industry’s history. Sadly, there are no guarantees it is the last. Just after the collapse, I’d called for brands to start holding their factories accountable, and for us to resist buying fast fashion. The glaring truth: boycotting brands does further damage to this delicate situation.
According to the latest reports, there are now 230 confirmed dead and hundreds injured, with an unknown number of people still unaccounted for. The disaster comes on the heels of two deadly fires at nearby factories. In addition to the sharp rise in body count, several new details have emerged since yesterday's tragic incident, including which brands are involved and details on what's being done to prevent similar disasters in the future. Here's what we know: