Thursday, April 24, 2014

Rana one year out

A year ago, the Rana Plaza building collapsed, trapping thousands of workers inside. I'm using a picture from the Guardian, but click through to their photoessay with heart-breaking close-ups.
There are many news articles about the event on the one year anniversary, but I am particularly shaken by Jason Burke's reporting.  He details how the factory owners used female supervisors, who are trusted more by the workers, to convince antsy workers to go inside a building that they feared was unsafe.  That's the same way armies used NCOs to convince infantry to charge enemy lines when they refused to follow commissioned officers.  Both resulted in large-scale slaughter.

  • If you have a strong stomach, view The shirt on your back.
  • The clean clothes campaign is urging people to use social media to shame businesses into paying up to the Rana Plaza victims fund.
  • Carolyn showed pictures of herself wearing her clothes inside out for Fashion Revolution Day.  We started a Q&A conversation about the ethics of clothes a few months ago, before life got into the way.  But, we will be posting a series soon.
  • I'd like to make a plug for Home Ec.  Just as taking auto shop for a semester doesn't make you qualified to fix your own car, it does educate you as a consumer about how difficult a task is and how much it should cost to pay a skilled person to do it.  If more people learned rudimentary sewing in Home Ec, they would be more wary of $10 blouses with lots of detailing or $10 jeans.

I'm going to wear my favorite t-shirt inside out today.  Luckily, I put a pocket on the inside.  However, I can't wear my shorts inside out because I need the pockets, particularly because I'm hobbling badly.  If they were inside out, you'd see the label that says they were made in Mexico, a medium wage country.  The factories in northern MX are closer to my LA home than SF so I consider them locally-made.

What are you wearing today?  Who made it?  Under what kind of working conditions?  How much were they paid?  How do they feel about their lives?  Are you making their lives better or worse?


  1. I'm wearing cotton pants and a shirt made by me, from fabric bought in Mexico- don't know who made that. I'm sure my shoes came from someone. I don't buy cheap clothes, but I know many people do, because they can't afford better and they don't know how to sew. I agree that Home Ec is one solution. At least a start

    1. I forgot about my shoes. I wore Iris' Munro American flats. Her feet are the same length but wider so they fit my swollen feet.

      Munro is proud to make their shoes in America. Expensive but worth it.

  2. I hadn't really bought many items of clothing in a long time, but none of us in the western world are without blame. "The shirt on your back" is really a beautiful and heartbreaking look at the dilemma that the workers find themselves in. Thank you for posting the link. I bought jeans made in mexico a few months ago with the Rana plaza tragedy in mind, and I've also looked for shoes made in fair-wage countries. I will look in to Munro, I bought my last shoes from Paul Green, a german company with the manufacturer in Austria.


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