Tomorrow is Fashion Revolution Day. To commemorate the loss of over 1,100 fashion workers in the disaster that still holds the town of Savar in Bangladesh, home to the Rana Plaza building that collapsed on 24th April last year in a tragic grip, a new documentary will be premiered at a charity screening in London.
Tears In The Fabric features Razia Begum, who lost her daughters and son-in-law in Rana Plaza, and is now raising her two grandsons without financial support. The three are destitute, living in shelters and surviving on handouts, while waiting on the one thing that could make a difference: fair compensation.
The message of the film is clear. The humanitarian crisis at Savar is still going on. The rubble has yet to be cleared--in one terrible scene Razia has to cross the remains of the factory to visit her daughters' graves.
Hannan Majid and Richard York, co-directors of Tears In The Fabric, have spent years documenting the human rights abuses in the garment factories of Bangladesh. For them, the events of Rana Plaza were simply a horror story waiting to happen. "Even before Rana Plaza, there were fires and accidents all the time," Majid said. Meanwhile, York recalls the scene at the factory: "You can still see all the ripped clothing of the workers and the labels from the clothes they were making for UK brands."
It seems almost unbelievable that a year after the disaster at Rana Plaza there are still questions about how much compensation is to be paid to those left behind. The companies who have a clear and obvious responsibility to the workers who died making their product are still either dragging their heels or are simply refusing to pay up. Although Primark has recently upped the amount it is paying into the compensation fund to £8million, and Mango has paid an undisclosed amount, brands like Walmart and Matalan are yet to drop a single penny into the pot, and there are fears that the first round of payments will not go out before the anniversary.
Meanwhile, the money continues to roll into Bangladesh, unhindered by the bad publicity from Rana Plaza, and the fire at the Tazreen facility earlier in 2013 that killed over forty workers. $22 billion was made in export earnings in the first nine months of the fiscal year, and demand for Bangladeshi-sourced clothing remains high--it's the second highest producer of fast fashion after China.
Tears In The Fabric is a film with a clear agenda and an intention to shock. We need to see that, a year after the events that shook the world of fashion, the families who have been torn apart are being ignored while huge profits are being made on the backs of their suffering.
Tears In The Fabric premieres tomorrow night at the Raising For Rana event, hosted at Regents University in London. It will be free to stream and download on Fashion Revolution Day. Visit www.tearsinthefabric.com for the full scoop on that.
Raising For Rana