Workers in the Bangladesh apparel industry are trying to raise awareness in Washington of the nation’s working conditions.
Sumi Abedin, a Bangladeshi garment worker who survived the Tazreen Fashions factory fire in November, and Kalpona Akter, executive director of the Bangladesh Center for Worker Solidarity, met on Wednesday with George Miller (D., Calif.) and were trying to meet with Tom Harkin (D., Iowa) or members of his team.
At the same time, protests against Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Gap Inc. were being planned for today at a Gap unit in the Friendship Heights Metro Station in Washington, D.C. Organizers said Gap was being targeted because it refused in 2012 to participate in a fire safety program for the Bangladeshi garment industry, preferring to go it alone. RELATED STORY: Rising Costs, Riots Squeez Bangladesh >>
Miller issued a statement: “[Sumi Abedin’s] stories provide real insight into the outrageous working conditions that she and her fellow workers had to endure. There have been at least 40 fires in Bangladeshi garment factories since this tragedy. I am increasingly concerned that the response by most U.S. brands that subcontract there has been woefully inadequate. When the cost to fix these fire hazards is estimated to be 10 cents per garment, Gap and Wal-Mart need to be committing resources and entering into enforceable agreements.”
Wal-Mart is being asked to participate in an April 15 conference in Geneva about how brands can compensate victims of fires and victims’ families, organized by global union IndustriAll. Disney, Sears Holding Corp., Delta Apparel Inc., Sean John and Dickies are among the U.S. companies that have also been invited.
Abedin and Akter on Friday will go to Wal-Mart’s headquarters in Bentonville, Ark., to “memorialize the workers” whose lives were lost in the Tazreen fire. The women are scheduled to speak Friday afternoon at the University of Arkansas School of Law in Fayetteville.
The Bangladesh Fire and Building Safety Agreement, which would facilitate in-factory safety procedures, continues to go unsigned by H&M, Wal-Mart and Gap. H&M, which sources more apparel from Bangladesh than any other retailer, said, “Primarily, it is the local government that has the responsibility to monitor the electrical installations in the factories.”
An H&M spokeswoman in Stockholm explained, “To be accepted as an H&M supplier, a factory must have emergency exits, a fire alarm installed on a separate power line and connected to its own generator, emergency lights, fire extinguishers, evacuation plans and minutes of fire evacuation drills.”
H&M introduced an education program to raise fire awareness and contacted other brands that manufacture in Bangladesh, including Abercrombie & Fitch, C&A, Carrefour, Carter’s, Gap, J.C. Penney Co. Inc., PVH Corp., Target Corp., Tchibo, Terranova, Tesco, VF Corp. and Wal-Mart. “Approximately three million workers will receive the education by 2013,” the spokeswoman said. “Collaborating with industry peers can help to increase the influence we have, whereas working alone, we’d have less influence.”
The annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in Pacific Palisades this weekend drew Kate Hudson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laura Dern and more. See pictures of the star-studded event on WWD.com. (📷: @chelsealaurenla) #wwdeye
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye
"Nowadays when life is not so happy with everything going on in the world, I think people come to me for a little bit of whimsy and color and fun." - Designer Rebecca De Ravenel on her cult-favorite jewelry line. (📸 : @vsteves) #wwd40
“Everyone is talking about how the retail industry is struggling, but I think it’s an incredible time because brands who are doing something different and innovative are setting themselves up for the future,” said @adamgoldston, who founded the luxury athletic brand @apl with his brother @ryangoldsten. The Goldston’s are part of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables. See the rest of the list on WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
@eyeswoon blogger Athena Calderone debuted her first-ever cookbook, “Cook Beautiful,” which is heavily centered on the presentation and visual expression of food. Pictured here are her miso glazed carrots from the book. Get the recipe on WWD.com. (📷: @johnny_miller_) #wwdeye
“It’s passion that helps get anybody to a certain point and it’s what’s propelled me,” said Kith founder @ronniefieg, one of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables who are changing the face of retail, fashion and beauty. Fieg, who opened a Manhattan flagship on October 7, began his career at age 13 as a stock boy and salesman for footwear chain David Z. “I think staying true to [my] beliefs, hard work and passion have gotten me to where [Kith] is today.” See the rest of the 40 at WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
25-year-old @samweaving is about to break out this fall, starring in Netflix’s horror film “The Babysitter,” fittingly out today on Friday the 13th. That’s not the only place you’ll be seeing her, though — Weaving’s got a role Showtime’s “SMILF” and another alongside Frances McDormand and Woody Harrelson in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” Though she’s got a full plate at the moment, there’s one role she’s got her eye on: Marilyn Monroe. “I’m a little too young at the moment, but it’s on my bucket list,” the actress told WWD (📷: @dandoperalski) #wwdeye
BFF's Poppy Jamie and Suki Waterhouse celebrated the launch of their bag line Pop x Suki at Nordstrom last night. "The line is really about our friendship, and how we are so different but complement each other," said Waterhouse. 👯 (📷: Katie Jones) #wwdeye
After designing the new @louisvuitton and @bulgariofficial flagships and a @chanelofficial boutique opening in Japan, @petermarinoarchitect has another project on his plate: The Lobster Club. Located in the Seagram Building, it’s the famed architect’s first restaurant project in New York, serving up modern Japanese brasserie-style cuisine. Bronze hues, bespoke material detailing, blush and chartreuse tones and a heavy emphasis on Picasso can be seen throughout. Mark your calendars for Nov. 1 for the much-anticipated opening. (📷: @clint_spaulding) #wwdeye