On April 24, 2013, a building in Bangladesh called Rana Plaza in the Savar Upazila of Dhaka District, Bangladesh, an eight-story commercial building, collapsed. Resulting in a death toll of 1,134 people, and injuring thousands more. The building housed several garment factories producing clothing for Western brands. This disaster exposed the harsh realities of the fashion industry. Rana Plaza became a wake-up call for companies to take responsibility for their actions. Companies had to look at improving the working conditions of those involved in the production of their clothing. Rana Plaza, 10 years on, still resonates in the fashion industry.
A Decade Later
The collapse of the Rana Plaza building was a preventable tragedy. One that highlighted the many challenges faced by garment workers in Bangladesh but also around the world. For years, workers had been subject to poor working conditions, exploitation, and a lack of transparency in the fashion industry. Now, 10 years on, garment workers are still making sub par wages. As well as still working long hours, and often face unsafe working conditions.
A positive outlook is that these critical issues have been brought to the forefront of public consciousness. Thus, leading to a global conversation about the ethics and sustainability of the fashion industry. Companies had to confront their own practices and start to enact change.
Although there are still issues in the fashion industry, there are reasons to be hopeful. Since then, a growing number of companies have recognised the importance of sustainability and ethical practices. Most importantly however, companies recognised worker rights, and are taking concrete steps to make a difference. These companies are demonstrating that it is possible to operate a successful business while prioritising people, planet and prosperity.
Doing Our Part
At ACS Clothing, we recognise the importance of sustainability, ethical practices, and worker rights. We have invested in circularity, focusing on reducing waste and extending the life cycle of clothing. It became essential that ACS offer staff the living wage to ensure staff are treated well and paid fairly. We support charity partners like the Fashion & Textile Children’s Trust (FTCT), who look can help families of garment workers. Also supporting Fashion Revolution, an organisation that promotes ethical practices and worker rights in the fashion industry.
The tragedy at Rana Plaza was a stark reminder that the fashion industry has more to do. Not only to ensure the safety and well-being of garment workers but to prevent any future casualties. Companies have a responsibility to take action and work toward a more sustainable, ethical, and equitable future.
Working conditions have improved. However, more progress needs to be made. The fashion industry must continue to push for transparency, accountability, and fair labor practices. Companies and consumers can do this by supporting brands that invest in both their staff as well as the planet. This will not only help brands that are doing the right thing, but will also go toward preventing another Rana Plaza disaster.
No one should suffer for fashion, let alone cost their life.
ACS remember the victims of the Rana Plaza disaster and 10 years on we honour their memory by continuing to advocate for a better future for the fashion industry. Change is possible. ACS are committed to doing our part to create a more sustainable and equitable fashion industry for all.
Find Out More
Read More about Rana Plaza here: ranaplaza-arrangement.org
Support Fashion Revolution: www.fashionrevolution.org/rana-plaza/
Support FTCT: www.ftct.org.uk/donate/donate-now