Alyssa Leahy: Do we know the cost of our clothes?

bThis past week in class, we watched a documentary called, “The True Cost.” Through powerful footage, the film shows exactly where our clothes come from — particularly the sweatshops in Bangladesh and Indonesia.

Day and night, people work in extremely poor working conditions to earn below what American’s would consider minimum wage.

Sweatshops are something we are aware of, but it doesn’t seem to affect us personally, so most of us don’t consider the circumstances. Companies such as H&M, Nike, Walmart, The Gap, and Victoria’s Secret are a few of the many U.S. corporations that outsource business for cheaper labor.

On April 24, 2013, the eight-story Rana Plaza building, outside of Bangladesh’s capital Dhaka, collapsed during work hours and killed more than 1,100 garment workers. Despite warnings that the building was unsafe, workers were still forced to work under dangerous conditions.

aThe Rana Plaza collapse is just one example of a deadly garment industry disaster. Other examples include New York’s Triangle Factory blaze in 1911, which claimed 146 lives; the Tazreen factory fire in Bangladesh in November 2012, which killed 112 workers, and the Ali Enterprises fire in Pakistan from September 2012, which killed 298 workers.

It is important for us to know where exactly our clothes come from, and the conditions under which they are made. Fashion Revolution started a campaign for people to ask clothing companies where their clothes were made. From April 1824, they encourage consumers to tweet at clothing companies and ask #WhoMadeMyClothes?




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