LONDON — “It’s important for the consumer to understand that it is about keeping up the pressure on the multinational companies,” said People Tree founder Safia Minney at a fair fashion panel discussion hosted by the label in East London. “There’s a massive injustice. This is a very, very dirty business.” It’s been a year since the collapse of Rana Plaza, a factory complex in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The event which took 1,138 lives and resulted in many casualties has raised public awareness and Minney is involved in the campaign to fight for the rights of garment workers in Bangladesh. Minney notes that one of the challenges faced is that the remaining compensation owed. Only $17 million of an estimated $40 million was paid, according to Minney. Their goal to have all of the 5,000 factories inspected by July 2014 and they seek to raise the wages for garment workers.

From unseen footage from Bangladesh to a discussion about the garment industry, the talk included panelists Amirul Hague Amin, president of the National Garment Workers Federation and Caryn Franklin, fashion commentator and activist.

“Consumers need to be aware that this is a window of opportunity, that after 20 years of campaigning, this is an opportunity to change the fashion industry, in the same way other industries have been changed,” Minney told WWD. “It’s about raising awareness. It’s about keeping the pressure on multinational companies but also there are some great fashion companies out there that are beginning to understand that they need to develop a supply chain, they need to look at where the risks and the weaknesses are and really engage with it. It’s a better long-term investment to do that. What we want is for people to earn more than poverty wages.”

For More, See WWD’s Coverage of the Bangladesh Industry — One Year Later >>

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