Rana Plaza - 6 Months On

  • Vicky Siviter
  • 25th October 2013

After the tragic collapse of the Rana Plaza garment factory in Bangladesh in April, we're taking a look back at what has changed, and what the fashion industry has learnt.

Activists protest on the site of the factory in Savar, Bangladesh. Photograph: The Times/Indrajit Ghosh/Demotix/Corbis

Yesterday it came to light that infamous retailer Primark is now offering compensation to all survivors and families of the 1,129 workers who died in the factory collapse. The retailer is putting a long-term plan in place, to ensure that those affected can access the medical and financial help they need.

It's encouraging to see such a large retailer, with a less than stellar reputation for its ethical practices, really committing to help the community bounce back from this huge tragedy.

Despite this, it's difficult to be optimistic about any real signs of change. Sir Richard Lambert, former editor of the Financial Times, said on Thursday: "I am actually amazed about how little impact the disaster in Bangladesh has had on consumers in this. I see no change in consumer habits here."

And this is exactly what worries us. Until consumer attitudes change, and people really understand the scope of this disaster (and the potential for others like it), the fact remains that retailers will prioritise price and convenience over human lives. To an eco-ethical company such as BIDBI, this is truly sickening.

While it's nice to hear news of compensation and ethical summits, no amount of compensation can make up for the lives lost and ruined in the disaster - the only way to move forward from this tragic event is to revolutionalise fast fashion, and make ethical production top priority.