International brands and retailers are complicit in exploitative working practices in low-cost production countries like Bangladesh, according to Livia Firth, the green activist who is an executive producer of new documentary film The True Cost.
The 80-minute film, directed by Andrew Morgan, explores the origins of clothing and footwear bought on the high street.
Speaking at its UK launch in London on April 24, Firth, who had just returned from Bangladesh, said: “The brands know everything, but they allow it to happen. I discovered [what is going on] in five days.”
She argued that the capitalist system is fundamentally flawed and international cross-government regulations on working conditions and wages were required because “voluntary efforts by retailers don’t work”. The fast-fashion system is the guilty party, she asserted.
Lucy Siegle, a journalist who writes on green issues for The Observer and has long campaigned against poor working conditions in the fashion supply chain, is also an executive producer.
The launch was hosted by Imran Amed, editor in chief of The Business of Fashion website. It took place on Fashion Revolution Day, which marked the second anniversary of the Rana Plaza catastrophe that left more than 1,300 workers dead and scores injured.
Other activities held on the day ranged from a Twitter Q&A with a fair trade cotton farmer in India and a designer ‘jumble sale’ on Oxford Street.
Members of the public were also encouraged to tweet photos of labels on clothing items to retailers with the hashtag #whomademyclothes?.