The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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April 21, 2014

Support ethics in fashion industry

As The Free Press reported, on April 24, 2013, the Rana Plaza sweatshop garment factory complex in the Bangladesh capital, Dhaka, collapsed. 1,133 workers were killed, 2,500 injured.

Large retailers in the United States and elsewhere generate consumer demand for cheap, largely disposable clothing and source from countries like Bangladesh and Pakistan. The race to the bottom of a competitive global marketplace has led to low wages, poor safety standards and growing exploitation of millions of workers. The Rana Plaza tragedy set off much soul-searching within the fashion business. The idea of promoting ethical fashion as a way to improve working conditions developed, but the difficult question was how to sustain a campaign that could bring about real change within the industry.

Instituting an annual Fashion Revolution Day on April 24 has been identified by industry leaders, campaigners, press and interested academics as an initial catalytic moment. It is hoped that this initiative will, through the use of social and other media, turn into a truly global movement. The intention of Fashion Revolution organizers is to rally main street, the high end, the new, the ancient, the innovators, the buyers, the shoppers, the media, the commentators, the activists and everyone in between.

Fashion Revolution Day will be marked in many countries — from the U.S. to Vanuatu, from Paraguay to Estonia, from Poland to Japan. You can help on April 24 by wearing an item of clothing inside out, and by asking one simple question: “Who made your clothes?”

Be curious, find out, do something to encourage greater transparency in the fashion business all the way along the supply chain.

Paul Renshaw

Mankato

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