Top designer and charity join forces for garment workers

By agency reporter
10 Mar 2014

The anti-poverty charity War on Want is joining forces with political activist and fashion designer Katharine Hamnett to step up efforts to protect garment workers making clothes for British high street retailers.

The collaboration is in the runup to the first anniversary of the Rana Plaza disaster that cost more than 1,100 lives in Bangladesh last April.

Hamnett said: “I have donated the NO MORE FASHION VICTIMS slogan design to War on Want to mark the first anniversary of the Rana Plaza disaster last April 24th 2013, in which over 1,100 Bangladeshi workers, mainly female garment workers, lost their lives.

“April 24th 2014 will be a huge moment in pushing for a better fashion industry, and I’m backing War on Want’s efforts to make real change happen.”

Adina Claire, at War on Want, said: “This is a real opportunity to send the message NEVER AGAIN to the fashion industry – thanks to Katharine’s backing as a highly respected designer and an activist. We are demanding safe and decent working conditions and pay for those who graft to make our clothes.”

Millions of ITV viewers saw Hamnett speak out against new evidence uncovering unsafe Bangladeshi factory conditions in the channel’s Exposure documentary, where she said: “the clothing industry is a stinking business and our clothes are covered in blood”.

The designer unveiled her T-shirt bearing the slogan “No More Fashion Victims”. On the reverse it continues ‘PAY LIVING WAGE NOW’, urging both safe and decent work for garment workers.

Over 100 brands have signed up to the legally binding Bangladesh Safety Accord, such as Arcadia, Bonmarche, Debenhams, John Lewis, Marks and Spencer, Matalan, Mothercare, New Look, Next, Primark, River Island, Sainsbury’s and Tesco.

Two of the world’s major brands, Gap and Asda, have failed to sign up.

War on Want said: "Together we’re focused on bringing all the brands into line and ensuring safe conditions for workers in Bangladesh. We will use the moment of this anniversary to publicly say 'never again' to these retailers."

[Ekk/4]

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