You may have met a lot of people on Instagram this week. Those who made your bags, clothes and shoes. Those who aren’t exploited as slave labour for the sake of fast fashion.
Sunday will mark three years since the collapse of the Rana Plaza complex. The building had been deemed unsafe just the day before, yet thousands of workers were ordered in to sew garments for a menial pay. They were threatened their next month’s pay would be taken from them. Money that their families relied on just to get by. On the 24th of April 2013, over 3000 people returned to work.
1,129 were killed when the building collapsed in on itself.
But the Bangladesh complex wasn’t the first, and most certainly won’t be the last, to force their employees through borderline illegal working conditions. But this is the problem in itself. It is legal, and it’s cheap.
And the money is everything in a world of fast fashion.
It is up to us as individual consumers to decide exactly what kind of behaviour we choose to support, fund and promote. We have the power to determine whether or not the clothes we put on our backs are made with or without the use and abuse of slave labour. Collectively, we have the ability to communicate to large brands that we don’t support the way in which they are treating those who keep their company going.
Transparency is key to the way we lead our lives. We have a responsibility to know exactly where what we are wearing has come from. Far too many countries have far too little standards surrounding how their employees get treated. While talking about cheap labour on face value makes it seem like a functioning clog on the big machine that is the company, each individual working long, tiresome, underpaid hours in these factories are a mother, a daughter, a father, a son, a grandparent.
They are a human just like us.
We have a moral obligation, as a human with a choice, to send a message to companies that this isn’t an acceptable way to live.
Ethically made doesn’t have to cost the world; just five minutes of your time doing a little research, and a little conscious effort.
Think of the bigger picture, speak for the people who can’t afford to speak for themselves, demand a fashion revolution; ask they companies just who made your clothes.