Activists Spotlight Plight of Bangladeshi Garment Workers During NY Fashion Week

HeadlineFeb 07, 2014

In New York City, activists gathered to protest New York’s Fashion Week on Thursday, demanding better wages and conditions for garment workers in Bangladesh. The demonstrators called for U.S. brands whose clothing was made in the Rana Plaza factory complex to compensate relatives of the more than 1,100 workers who died when the building collapsed last April. Michelle Flores of 99 Pickets spoke at the event.

Michelle Flores: “Fashion Week here in New York is a spectacle of luxury, and I think that there is a need to draw attention to where these clothes will get made. And it’s really relevant, I mean, across the supply chain, whether you are an independent designer who can’t afford to compete with the major companies and the major brands, who will then send those designs abroad to be produced in factories where workers don’t have a voice. So I think New York Fashion Week is really important for that reason. Some of the brands who will be here this week are brands whose clothing was made in those factories where these tragedies happened in Bangladesh.”

The Illuminator art collective later projected images of the Rana Plaza collapse victims onto buildings in New York City. The protests came the same day as a new report detailing how garment factory owners in Bangladesh threaten and intimidate workers who try to form unions. Workers told Human Rights Watch they faced sexist insults, death threats, physical attacks and intimidation that forced them to resign after they tried to organize.

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