When over 1,100 garment workers died in the Rana Plaza factory collapse in April 2013, it shined an unflinching light on the untenable conditions that many in the industry have long been forced to endure. Since then, consumers, activists and other stakeholders around the world have demanded that brands take immediate action to ensure that workers are not only safe, but paid fairly while they’re constructing the clothing we wear every day.
Thread: Driving Fashion Forward is a short documentary web series about the fashion industry’s social and environmental impacts, produced by Lexus’ L Studio, that began airing in April.
In “Humanity,” the fourth and final episode, host Amber Valletta describes her journey from career supermodel to informed activist.
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“It’s caused a lot of internal conflict — I shop differently,” she said. “It can’t be $12.99 without causing some sort of conflict, it’s just impossible.
“Can we do this better? Can we lift poverty? Can we just start living in a way that lifts the playing field for everyone? It should be that we all get to thrive.”
“Humanity” guest, supermodel-turned-philanthropist Christy Turlington Burns, echoes Valletta's sentiments:
“Looking at women’s rights in the countries where we work and where I’ve traveled, particularly in a place like Bangladesh — one of the greatest advances in the last 20 years has been that more girls and women have access to education and financial opportunity to earn more for themselves [and] their families,” Turlington Burns says. “But when you see the flipside of that — they’re not receiving healthcare, they’re in cramped spaces that are poorly built. And we’ve seen — with Rana Plaza, in numerous places in Bangladesh and around the world — thousands of people are dying because of unsafe conditions. We have to do better. One preventable death is a death too many.”
Turlington highlights the importance of keeping the issue in the forefront and consumers voting with their dollars in order to drive necessary changes in the industry.
“Knowledge is the most important, and the consumer can also demand that this happen. The power is in the collective voice that brings the change that we all need to see.”
A handful of brands around the world have committed to improving conditions for workers throughout their supply chains, but is ethical fast fashion achievable?
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