The death toll at the Rana Plaza factory has reached 1, 127 but some of the retailers implicated have still failed to offer full compensation. Drapers took to Oxford Street to ask whether it’s changed the way people feel about shopping?
Ariane, 24, hospitality reviewer: I was not very aware [about working condititions before] but will be investigating more in the future. It is attractive to have nice clothes at a cheap price but if it came at the cost of somebody else’s life I wouldn’t be prepared to support it.
Wendy Hill, 50, hairdresser: I think it’s disgusting but don’t feel there’s anything we can really do about it.
Phoebe Finn & Lucy Rose, both 16, students: It might not make me stop shopping but will make a little more mindful of the situation. Nowhere is particularly ethical though.
Mary-Anne Birkelan, 38, journalist: Everybody could afford to pay a little more for their things. I won’t shop in there very often and don’t feel good about shopping there. I believe they should behave ethically and vet their factories abroad exactly the same as they do with their EU factories.
Dean Woodvine, 32, make-up artist: I’ve started to think twice about it but it’s difficult living in London. Everything’s so expensive. There are companies you don’t want to shop at but of course you have to. Sometimes your beliefs just go out of the window. I think it’s good that Primark put their hands up but it shouldn’t have happened in the first place. Their job is to make sure the factories their clothes are produced in are safe.
Mohamoud Hassan, 45, business owner: Not really. People who say otherwise don’t understand the situation in countries like Bangladesh. I’m from Somalia and countries like this rarely get large companies investing in our industry and our workers. The only jobs most people can get are the type that comes from large retailers and these workers have families to feed so we can’t stop shopping here. It would be better to improve the conditions these factory workers work in but I wouldn’t stop shopping at Primark.
Sebastian Dochene, 34, fashion stylist: The retailers involved should compensate families as it wouldn’t cost them very much, and they should also ensure better working conditions.
Tilly Worth, 23, Student: As a student I try to go for the cheapest available. A lot of places have a lot of issues and there’s always something in the news about another company exploiting staff. It’s difficult to know where to shop.
Joelle Hylton, 31, support worker: If I could afford to shop differently then maybe I would. I do think they need to make sure their factories are secure, as these types of companies are often happy to just wash their hands of an incident like this. They need better safety precautions and to look after their workers.
Marie Corley & Rory Corley, 57 &31, secretary and marketing manager: When you’re going on holiday and need some cheap clothes where else are you going to go? I feel guilty for shopping there and don’t regularly do so but if we stop are we really helping? The employees at those factories need to work but it also needs a sustainable industry.
Nicole Icking & Wiebke Hragham, 20 & 19, students: It does make you think about how people have to live just so you can buy a cheap shirt. But I can’t afford better clothes, I’m a student. You can never be sure if the people producing the clothes are treating their manufacturers fairly but they should provide the minimum care possible.