Going Beyond the Label

sewing machineIt has been two years since the fateful Rana Plaza collapse. The horrifying shock has passed and life has gone on.¬† New fashions trends have been brought in. Our boys have grown through several sizes of clothes. Weddings. Funerals. New jobs. There always seems to be a reason to buy more clothes. Two years later and I still buy our family’s clothing at thrift stores and garage sales and I’m not ashamed of it. Reusing what is already out there has been a good answer for me in the dilemma of finding something I can afford that is also ethically sourced. Yet, I realize that millions depend on the garment industry for basic survival. Simply boycotting products that are made in countries like Bangladesh does more harm than good because the only ones who will suffer are at the opposite end of the supply chain, hungry and desperate for any type of work in order to feed their families.

Today I came across The Shirt on Your Back, an amazing interactive portrayal of not only the collapse of Rana Plaza, but a look into some of the lives of people affected by it. It does a beautiful job of portraying life in Bangladesh and realities within the garment industry. Set aside some time and see it through to the end. You will not be disappointed!

I also came across an app called Fair Buy that allows you to donate directly to garment factory workers when you buy a piece of clothing. The suggested amount is $.50/piece, which reflects what a living wage would look like for those who sweat their lives away in the factories that produce our clothing.

This month, while we mourn the lives lost at Rana Plaza, let’s not allow their suffering and deaths be in vain. We live in a land of privilege. Whether we consider ourselves rich or poor, we have choices we can make that greatly impact the lives of those who are destitute and have few choices.