One year after hundreds of Bangladesh textile workers died in the Rana Plaza disaster, a 'Fashion Revolution' wants consumers to restyle their clothes and shopping habits to ensure fairness for those employed in a multi-billion dollar industry. Joanna Partridge reports.
REPORTER: Why keep buying new clothes, when you can restyle, alter or mend what you've already got? That's being put into practice at the Designer Jumble pop-up shop in London. Also selling vintage clothes, in one of many Fashion Revolution events taking place around the world, aimed at drawing attention to the first anniversary of the collapse of the Rana Plaza garment factory in Bangladesh. Victims' families marked the disaster, which claimed the lives of over 1,100 people. The factory made clothes for several western retailers, and turned global attention to the unsafe conditions and low wages in the world's second biggest clothing exporter.
ORSOLA DE CASTRO, CO-FOUNDER OF FASHION REVOLUTION: "The sustainable fashion movement is probably 20 years old, it's a grown-up movement, and it's a tragedy that it took the catastrophe such as the Rana Plaza to really shake everybody up."
REPORTER: Orsola de Castro co-founded Fashion Revolution. Her team took to Twitter to ask consumers who makes their clothes.
ORSOLA DE CASTRO, CO-FOUNDER OF FASHION REVOLUTION: "If you do educate the consumer to buy better, it will have a drastic impact on the entire supply chain." The team wore their clothes inside out, exposing labels. But it seems many of us don't look that closely.
DAVID MCNAMARA, SHOPPER: "Far East probably, but I don't know exactly where."
ESTELLE CORNER, SHOPPER: "I should take more of an interest but I probably wouldn't like the answer. It would probably make me feel uncomfortable."
JOHN YOUNG, SHOPPER: "I have no idea where they're made. I know it sounds ignorant of me, but no idea."
REPORTER: The Designer Jumble's founder Abi Murray hopes the Fashion Revolution movement may make consumers more aware.
ABI MURRAY, FOUNDER OF DESIGNER JUMBLE: "When you get to the till, at your favourite high street shop, ask them: who made this. If they can answer, you can buy it without any fear at all, if they can't answer, it's up to you, buy it or don't, but you put the question out there."
REPORTER: We used to expect our clothes to last, and knew how to mend them as well, but those skills have fallen away, and with the advent of fast fashion, we've got used to buying more clothes and then throwing them away. Discount chain Primark's sales rose 14% in the past six months, and profit climbed by 26%. Primark has already paid $2 million to victims of the Rana Plaza collapse, and has begun paying long-term compensation, which will total $10 million. Some brands supplied by Rana Plaza have chosen not to pay into a compensation fund. Others have formed alliances to improve standards in Bangladesh's factories. In the year since the disaster, some retailers have looked into new markets. And sustainable fashion fans are warning against a race to the bottom. Perhaps western consumers need to consider that ever cheaper clothes do come at a price.