Distraught eyes from family members dart frantically as they hold up old torn photos of their loved ones, hoping by some chance that family member will walk out from the debris. “Somebody lost two daughters, or two sons, a husband or wife, but who will take responsibility?” stated Ismail Ferdous. As a photojournalist, Ferdous was able to capture the sheer destruction that unfolded in front of his eyes on April 24th, 2013.
Nearly one year later, on April 15th, 2014, The New York Times, producer Nathan Fitch, and photojournalist Ismail Ferdous released the short film, “Rana Plaza Collapse Documentary: The Deadly Cost of Fashion.”
“I was hearing this scream from the ruble, someone saying ‘chop off my legs and pull me out!” said Ferdous.
According the “The Deadly Cost of Fashion”, about four million people work in the clothing industry in Bangladesh. Over 1,100 people died in the Rana Plaza building Collapse and around 2,500 were injured, making it the deadliest accident in the history of the garment industry.
“I see the brand names all of the time, the tags remind me of the tags that I’ve seen in the Rana Plaza Collapse,” Ferdous said mournfully.
The briliant short film shows the intense juxtaposition of seeing images flash back to back. Images of tags written in English, “Genuine 1969 Quality Guaranteed Cedarwood State Apparel” buried half way beneath the gritty sand and debris of the destroyed building, laying along side the limp and grungy limbs of the nameless workers that were killed under the collapse.
Tags shown in the film included, but were not limited to: “Joe Fresh,” “American Exchange”, “Premier,” “Stooker,” etc. For a full list of brand names please watch the film.
“The Deadly Cost of Fashion” not only displays first hand the destruction of this incident, but also touches on the concern of unfair labor prices and the cost of unsafe work conditions.
“People don’t want to pay more. If you don’t want to pay more, how will the producer pay more to the worker?” asks Ferdous. According to the film, Minimum wage for garment workers in Bangladesh is now a mere $17 per week, though many garment factories pay even less.
A quick, yet very powerful view, “The Deadly Cost of Fashion” is a highly recommended watch.
Please also see The New York Times Article HERE.