Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Progress after the Rana Plaza disaster? Industry experts weigh in

Last Friday marked two years since the Rana Plaza disaster on 24th April 2013, when an eight-story commercial building collapsed in Dhaka, Bangladesh, killing over 1,100 people and injuring another 2,500. The building housed shops, apartments, and a bank, but was also being used illegally as a makeshift garment factory, where 5,000 workers were producing clothing for many well-known retailers, including Benetton, Bonmarché, El Corte Inglés, Monsoon Accessorise, Mango, Matalan, Primark and Walmart. Since then, retailers, charities and political organisations all around the world have worked with factories and the Bangladesh government to improve safety standard and working conditions for the millions of people involved in the garment industry.


Sunday, 26 April 2015

An Introduction to Ethical Fashion with Lucy Siegle and Livia Firth

A few weeks ago I attended an incredible seminar on ethical fashion led by Lucy Siegle, the Observer's ethical living columnist and published author, including a spontaneous Q&A with Livia Firth, the CEO of Eco-Age, face of the Green Carpet Challenge and wife of British actor Colin Firth.

I had just started to dip my toe into the world of sustainable fashion by reading some articles online, but it was hard to know where to start, as there are so many smaller organisations, consultancies and websites that it is very difficult to get an overview of the most useful places to find information, let alone the key ethical and environmental issues. The seminar seemed like the perfect introduction to such an enormous topic, and Siegle really got to the heart of the main problems currently facing the industry; from the challenges of producing enough virgin fibre (such as cotton), to the common practice of outsourcing to the developing world, unregulated supply chains, and the rapacious consumerism that characterises modern day attitudes to shopping in the developed Western world.

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