A shirt lies in the rubble three days after a Bangladeshi garment eight-storey building collapsed in Savar, on the outskirts of Dhaka, on April 27, 2013. Police arrested two textile bosses over a Bangladeshi factory disaster as the death toll climbed to 332 and distraught relatives lashed out at rescuers trying to detect signs of life. AFP PHOTO/ Munir uz ZAMAN        (Photo credit should read MUNIR UZ ZAMAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Kinsey Schell: True Colors of Benetton

This chrome extension reveals the people behind the clothes sold by multibillion dollar corporations and the lives spent to make them. On April 24th, 2013 Rana Plaza, an eight story garment factory in Bangladesh collapsed taking the lives of 1,100 workers as well as injuring more than 2,500. Who’s too blame? Major corporations such as Walmart, JCPenny, JoeFresh, and Benetton who profit from Bangladesh’s unregulated cheap labor. It took the companies weeks to admit to their affiliation with the building. When Benetton’s clothing labels and paper trail was found amongst the ruble, they released a statement saying “A one-time order was completed and shipped out of one of the manufacturers involved several weeks prior to the accident.”  Once the corporations could no longer deny their role, they left the Bangladesh worker’s, who earn $38 a month, with empty promises forcompensation and reform. The collapse was not the first fashion industry related tragedy to hit Bangladesh. There had been numerous fires as well as deadly structural failures leading up to Rana Plaza in April 2013. Unfortunately the tragedies still continue. On October 8th, 2013, a fire broke out in a fabric mill killing 7 and injuring many. Despite the international attention Bangladesh received in April, the country refuses to jeopardize the $20 billion earned in exports per year, 80% from the garment industry. Recently, the Workers Rights Consorted estimated $30 billion dollars would be require to properly increase worker’s rights in Bangladesh. That would mean an increase of $.25 on the price of every item produced in Bangladesh. This week, H&M announced the company will have a stronger presence in Bangladesh. Although the major bargain brand promises reform, their history would suggest otherwise. We, the consumers, are truly in control of the future.

It’s time to stop hiding behind the distance that separates us from those Bangladesh, and reveal the true cost of these clothes


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