Bangladesh Court lifts ban on movie ‘Rana Plaza’


The High Court in Bangladesh have just lifted a ban on the film ‘Rana Plaza’.  

Originally banned due to some controversial scenes, the film is based on the 2013 collapse of a garment factory in Bangladesh. The collapse of Rana Plaza created international shockwaves as it exposed the dark underbelly of the fashion industry, with the death of more than 1,100 factory workers. The accident highlighted the working conditions of garment workers across Bangladesh. Like other developing countries such as Cambodia, Bangladesh relies heavily on the textile industry which contributes US $25 billion annually in exports.

The film follows the widely successful documentary film ‘True Cost’ by Los-Angeles-based filmmaker Andrew Morgan. Confronting and raw, the film reveals the ugly supply chain behind fast fashion from cotton sourcing to garment workers. CNN describes the film as, “a sweeping, heartbreaking survey of the clothing industry”.  

The Rana Plaza collapse was a result of the lack of transparency in the fast fashion industry. Fast fashion describes the fact that we buy too many clothes and pay too little for them. 

Whilst the film is careful not to blame specific brands, it highlights the negative effects created by an industry obsessed with low cost and staying on trend.  According to the film, 80 billion pieces of clothing are purchased worldwide each year, which is 400% more than a decade ago. With multinational companies keen to cut costs, and increase revenue, production is often outsourced to developing nations where narrow margins mean things like building safety standards get overlooked. What’s more, three out of four of the worst garment factory disasters in history occurred in 2012 and 2013. 

The collapse of the Rana Plaza factory highlighted the huge human toll that fast fashion has, but the film also outlines the environmental cost of producing vast volumes of disposable clothing.

Executive Producer Livia Firth explains, 
“fast fashion depletes the Earth’s resources and uses slave labour all over the world. Eventually the resources will deplete, the profit margins will shrink, and there will be revolutions in the streets. If you are a smart businessman, you would address those issues today.”
With the huge appetite for new clothing, the planet’s resources are struggling to keep up. Driven by demand, BT cotton and the chemicals used in manufacturing are having devastating impacts on the surrounding environment, including the health of people living in these communities. Sure this makes us feel guilty, but we continue to indulge in the convenience of fast fashion because it seems like the best option.

Many people, try to offset the guilt created by fast fashion by donating to charity. The True Cost, however emphasises that this solution is far from perfect. Only 10% of the clothes donated to thrift stores in America get sold and the rest end up in landfills or enter markets in developing countries such as Haiti.

But, the film does more than making its audience feel terribly guilty for their actions. The True Cost conveys an important message. Without consumers the fast fashion industry wouldn't survive. It aims to educate and encourage the wider community to make more conscious decisions about they clothes they wear.

After all, as Gloria Steinem (Journalist and Feminist Icon) explained,
“We can tell our values by looking at our cheque book stubs.”
Not satisfied? 

Stay tuned to see if a new startup can help you make a more conscious choice about the clothes you wear.

In the meantime, I'd highly recommend checking out 'The True Cost'. 

What do you think we can do to tackle fast fashion? Share your thoughts in the comments or tweet them to @DanushiPeiris or @ConsciousAus

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