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On Wednesday, 24 April 2013, in the scruffy town of Savar Upazila in Bangladesh, an Eight-storey clothing factory building collapsed. The search for the dead and missing lasted until 13 May 2013.Death toll 1,127. This is the deadliest disaster in the history of the garment industry, which brought the unsafe working conditions in Bangladesh to global attention.

Bangladesh is the second exporter of clothing in the world, with more than 5,000 factories. It Won this position thanks to the lowest costs of production, largely influenced by the fact that Bangladeshis have the lowest wages in the fashion industry. The Rana Plaza collapse was a disaster waiting to happen and who knows how many more there are. Although cracks appeared in the building the day before, the factory owners urged the workers to return to their jobs. Several have argued that the short production deadlines and the pressure of fast fashion were the main causes of the catastrophe.

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But the tragedy raised many safety and ethical issues around the globe. The representatives of the fashion industry and manufacturers of clothing met to discuss possible solutions for the problem and ways to improve factory safety standards in Bangladesh and in other third world countries that are exporting apparel to the Western world. One of possible solutions is Fair Trade.

What is Fair Trade?

Fair Trade is a social movement concerned with helping marginalized people in developing countries to achieve better working and trading conditions. Fair Trade Fashion is fashion made by Fair Trade certified groups. One of the movements goals is to ensure lawful and safe conditions for workers. This means ensuring that workers get paid for their work and making sure that retailers do not maximize their profit at workers expense.

The organization complies with all international, national, and local health and safety standards, and respects working hours. They do not discriminate their employees based on gender, religion, sexual orientation, race, social status, or age, but are strongly against child labour.

What is Our Role as Consumers?

We all want to feel comfortable in our clothes. One major aspect of it is the material from which the clothes are made. Would you feel comfortable in a cotton dress knowing that it was sewn by a 14yearold girl who worked 16 hours a day and was paid $20 a month for that (if she was paid at all)?

We bet you would not. As consumers, we all have our saying in the future of fashion industry. If we choose to discriminate manufacturers who treat their workers as slaves and expose their lives to danger every day, we are saying no to fast fashion and bringing the change to the world.

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Sustainable Fashion

Apart from the ethical aspect, Fair Trade is also concerned about the sustainability of the current practices in fashion industry. More and more brands are turning to eco fashion, meaning that they are introducing eco friendly standards in their production processes. Eco fashion are products made of organically grown fibres, upcycled and recycled fabrics, and off cuts. The brands that have already adopted this concept so far, such as People Tree, PACT, Mayamiko, Novica, Everlane, etc, should be credited for making a difference. You can make a difference by supporting these brands.

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Before you buy your next favorite blouse, check what material it is made of and where it was sewn. You can find this information on the manufacturers website or web forums. If the information is unclear, you know what should be done.

Are you supporting fast fashion with your shopping habits and choices?

About the Author:-

Sophia Smith is Australian based fashion, beauty and lifestyle blogger. She could be described as beauty addict and life lover. She writes mostly in fashion and beauty related topics, mainly through blogs and articles. Sophia is regular contributor at High Style Life.

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