On April 24th, 2013, over 1100 people - mostly garment workers - lost their lives, and 2500 individuals were injured in the eight-story Rana Plaza factory collapse. The building collapsed in under 90 seconds in the outskirts of Dhaka, Bangladesh. The tragedy was one of the worst industrial accidents ever recorded.
What makes this even worse was the fact that this situation was avoidable. Management had been made aware of cracks in the building a day before, which threatened the building’s structural integrity. However, workers were ordered to resume their tasks so they could meet tight deadlines.
In Bangladesh, garment factory workers rioted for two days after the building collapsed, kicking off a series of protests all over the nation. Thousands of workers marched in Dhaka on May 1st for International Workers’ Day, and even later blocked a highway to demand outstanding wages and three months’ salary following factory closures, which would only amount to a mere $120 per worker.
The incident garnered global criticism from reputable organizations including the UN International Labor Rights forum and the Human Rights Watch. A much-needed revolution began to brew in light of this fast fashion disaster, spearheaded by Fashion Revolution founders, Orsola de Castro and Carry Somers. Their #WhoMadeMyClothes campaign aimed to increase consumer awareness towards the pitiable garment factory conditions and hold brands and suppliers accountable for the health and well-being of their employees.
The movement’s mission is to unite different actors in the fashion industry, including designers, producers, brands, and consumers to create a shift in the industry’s values, so welfare is prioritized over pure profit. By establishing a connection between consumers and makers through a transparent and accountable supply chain, the entire process is humanized. After all, this movement was built on the idea that nobody should suffer in the name of fashion.
This campaign took social media by storm as consumers began to question the origins of their clothing through the popular hashtag #WhoMadeMyClothes, which was used over 800,000 times in 2021! Additionally, a new hashtag #IMadeYourClothes was created to bring visibility and celebrate the talented artisans who produce our clothing. This was used over 223,000 times in 2021. Brands were also motivated to improve their transparency, with 3,838 global brands sharing accurate information about their supply chains on social media.
Movements like these have grown to be a worldwide network and a voice for the marginalized in the fashion industry. They have made an undeniable difference by increasing awareness, advocating for transparency, and pressuring brands and factory owners to operate more responsibly.
At Flourish Planet, transparency is at the core of everything we do. We are an ecosystem of entrepreneurs and artisans. We strive to celebrate and elevate indigenous makers, artisans and entrepreneurs by playing the role of facilitators, and providing a global platform for their exquisite, hand-crafted products. Our goal is to ensure that workers not only receive fair wages but also a more steady income supply through direct to consumer sales, so that these makers are able to build sustainable livelihoods.
We invite you to join us on this journey where we can all flourish together.