Clothing Keeps Getting Cheaper, and Factory Workers Are Paying the Price | Bloomberg


In April 2013, when the Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh crumbled and killed more than a thousand garment workers, Western clothing executives were chastened. They were the ones, after all, who’d been pressuring Bangladesh’s apparel factories to cheaply reproduce runway trends for consumers in the U.S. and Europe who’d grown used to $10 dresses. Following the accident, H&M, Zara, Walmart, Gap, and other major brands announced they’d fund and oversee factory inspections in Bangladesh, demanding improvements from facilities that fell short and cutting off business with those that didn’t get better. Bangladesh, with the help of the United Nations’ International Labour Organization (ILO), created its own inspection program and vowed to shut down unsafe facilities. Better vigilance, everyone figured, would be central to preventing similar accidents from happening again.

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