The Rana Plaza collapse was a structural failure that occurred on April 24, 2013, in Bangladesh, where an eight-story garment factory collapsed with a death toll of 1,134 and 2,500 injured. Workers were ordered to continue working, or lose a month’s pay, even after they voiced safety concerns and cracks appeared in the walls.

Most of those workers were female, creating garments for retailers and consumers in the western world. They were making cheap clothes for our throw-away culture.

While we’re paying cheap prices, the cost to the environment and garment workers is huge.

Each year, we throw away 11 million tons in the U.S. alone.

Garments, full of lead, pesticides and countless other chemicals, almost never break down and release toxic chemicals. Cheap textiles like polyester are derived from fossil fuels, contributing to global warming.

Rana Plaza is one of the many factories where garment workers are found in dangerous, toxic environments, working for low wages and without basic human rights.

Lucy Siegle, author and journalist, summed it up in the documentary "The True Cost" — “Fast fashion isn’t free. Someone, somewhere, is paying."

To combat fast fashion, buy less, wear it more and make it last. Ask yourself “Who made my clothes?” Use the Good on You app, which rates brands on how ethical they are.

April 22 - 27 is Fashion Revolution Week — an effort by conscious consumers who want to change the way clothes are sourced, produced and purchased, and who want to ensure that they are made in a safe, clean and fair way.

Join the Revolution.

Paulette Bertrand

Mankato

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