By Kristi Zboncak

Spanning across the world at this very moment, there are millions of women, children and men working in dire environments to support themselves and their families for the sake of fast fashion. The demand for fast fashion, cheap clothing made at rapid speed, requires the supply be met quickly causing a myriad of people to be exploited. Long hours, crowded workspaces, low wages, and more contribute to unhealthy conditions for garment workers around the globe as they meet these demands. The lack of concern for workers’ wellbeing has cost lives, from the Rana Plaza collapse of 2013, killing over 1,000 garment workers, to fatal factory fires breaking out. But as the demand for fast fashion rises, so does the call to work towards justice.

Bangladesh is home to many of the world’s biggest fashion brand’s factories yet is the lowest paying export country in the word, with many employees earning less than $120 a month. When a new law was passed to raise the minimum wage, management refused to comply, and employees took a stand for their rights. In January of this year, masses of workers took to the streets to strike for their rightful pay. Within 2 months, 11,000 protestors were fired. Yet the strike continues, inspiring many with the incredible tenacity of acquiring the basic rights of a worker. 

After the Rana Plaza collapse, many saw the need for change within the fashion industry, and that change needed to happen now, which led to the rise of The Bangladesh Accord. The accord is a legally-binding arrangement between mass retailers and a multitude of local unions to ensure the safety of garment factory workers. Since 2013, over 200 companies have signed this accord, bringing safety to millions of workers in Bangladesh. Despite the incredible change that has come from the accord, some organizations want to see it cease and are taking them to court. The next court date is April 7th, which will determine if the accord can continue its lifechanging work, and we fully support them as they strive to make changes. 

Here at CAUSEGEAR | MADE BY FREE WOMEN, we stand with our friends around the world to raise our voices with them to bring safety and equality to garment workers. We rejoice at the progress that has been made and look forward with hope to see transformation and liberation within the fashion industry. 

CAUSEGEAR is a Chicago based low-profit social enterprise and maker of quality handcrafted apparel and accessories. Brands include CAUSEGEAR® and MADE BY FREE WOMEN®. Its mission is that one million people are made free through self-sustaining jobs. Every purchase supports a day of freedom for your crafter from slavery and poverty through a self-sustaining job. Learn more about the life-time guarantee backpacks, bags, t-shirts, aprons, journals, and other fashion apparel and accessories at causegear.com. Share your CAUSEGEAR story using the hashtags #MadeFree and #ForHumanJustice.


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