A reflection on Fashion Revolution this year. Image by Odin Wilde


Courtney Holm

This week is Fashion Revolution week, marking the ten anniversary of the Bangladesh Rana Plaza Factory collapse where thousands of garment makers lost their lives while at work.

The International Global Rights Organisation reported that 3,639 workers, 80% of them women between 18-20 years old, went to work at the Rana Plaza Factory in Bangladesh on April 24th, 2013. Several workers had complained of large dangerous looking cracks in the walls of the factories and refused to enter the building, however they were threatened, beaten with sticks and forced by the factory owners to work regardless. On that very morning, the factory started collapsing, crushing and killing 1,138 people. There were 2,500 others who were seriously injured and several others whose bodies were never found. 

Fashion Revolution day was held on the first anniversary of the Rana Plaza Factory collapse to raise awareness about this greed-driven tragedy and to draw a line in the sand. Every anniversary, we remember what happened to these human beings who died making garments for popular retailers like Inditex (Zara) and Primark. When we look around at the industry now, ten years on, it's a crying shame that more has not changed, that there is such a severe shortcoming when it comes to valuing the people who make the clothes that make these businesses so profitable. 

You might think things would be different now and we'd have figured out a global system for equitable pay for all fashion supply chain workers. However even today there are billions of dollars owed to factories in the Global South and their garment workers that brands of the Global North have refused to pay, despite returning to profitability after the pandemic (Clean Clothes Organisation). How is this fair? Likewise, with the development of the Bangladesh Fire and Safety Accord in 2013, subsequently updated in 2018, there are still several large brands who manufacture their clothes in Bangladesh who refuse to sign it. Why?

While this can feel wildly out of our own control here at A.BCH, we CAN reflect on how we work with people in our own supply chain. We start by employing our own sewing team in-house and having all our operations accredited by Ethical Clothing Australia. But we must also consider every set of hands who touches the fibres, yarns, cloth and dyes and do our part in seeking out information, building strong relationships and approaching each partner with mutual respect.

With the industry power dynamics so biased towards the big brands, it's important that we as consumers are asking them the tough questions, especially if we plan to spend money with them. That's why Fashion Revolution encourages everyone (because everyone wears clothes) to concern themselves with the welfare of the workers who make them.

To read more, discover the Manifesto for a Fashion Revolution here.

Manifesto for Fashion Revolution

See our latest instagram guide for accounts to follow that are leading the Fashion Revolution charge.

Stay updated with our latest ideas through the A.BCH Newsletter.