How This 60 Year Old Began An Ageless Fashion Revolution

Rana Plaza was the workplace of thousands of young men and women who earnt around $8 per week for 60 to 90 hours worth of work, producing T-shirts and jeans similar to the ones you’re probably wearing right now.

Women like 21-year-old Nazma Akhter Naznin, who was pulled from the rubble in the aftermath, lost their livelihoods and their loved-ones.

“I was unconscious for two hours. When I regained consciousness, I found out that my husband was gone forever,” Nazma, who was pregnant at the time, said.

“The previous day we heard that a crack had developed on the second floor and the building was not safe. But the supervisor announced that the building was safe and threatened to withhold a month’s pay if we didn’t attend work.”

As more stories emerged from Rana Plaza, it quickly became evident that working conditions like this are not unique in Bangladesh. A fire which killed 10 people at a garment factory about six months later only further highlighted the problem. Bangladesh is the fourth largest exporter of clothing in the world, and Rana Plaza catapulted the people’s working conditions into the spotlight. So two years on, how has the fashion industry responded?

Naznin Akhter Nazma was pulled from the rubble of the Rana Plaza factory collapse. Picture: Nusrat Amin/ActionAid

Naznin Akhter Nazma was pulled from the rubble of the Rana Plaza factory collapse. Picture: Nusrat Amin/ActionAidSource:Supplied


In light of the Rana Plaza collapse, massive retailers like Kmart and Target were quick to sign a five-year, legally binding agreement which pledged to improve the safety conditions at Bangladesh factories.

Known as The Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety, the agreement has since been signed by almost 200 global brands. Developed by unions IndustriALL and UNI Global Union, it is “designed to work towards a safe and healthy Bangladeshi Ready-Made Garment Industry,” and covers around 1,500 factories and 2 million workers.

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