I have read many stories of the collapse of the building in Bangladesh and I’ve wanted to comment on it but needed to wait for the wild mix  of emotions to calm in order to make sense of my feelings.  I recently read a post by Kathleen Fasanella of Fashion-Incubator(www.fashion-incubator.com).  She does a wonderful job of expressing how I feel.    She writes…

”Everyone is angry and outraged, using the incident to blame their target du jour.  Many consumers blame manufacturers for putting profit before people.  In the trade, conversation at the water cooler blames consumers for being so cheap that outsourcing has become a necessary evil.  Among independent designers, many show a perverse glee in the fallout of larger firms. Those who produce domestically feel vindicated because they’re not to blame.  Regardless of where you lie in the spectrum, you share the shame.  It affects all of us.”

This is an issue full of moral and ethical issues of which I don’t have the answer.  If I advocate for making our products in the USA then where does that leave third world countries like Bangladesh who because of industries, like the ones occupying the Rana Plaza, are helping to improve nutrition, health, education and life expectancy in these countries.  And, accidents and negligence happen everywhere, not just third world countries, wasn’t there just an explosion in a fertilizer plant in Waco, TX?  Kathleen goes on to say that we need to be

“proactive and caring enough to take what responsibility that lies within our means to limit tragedy within our reach.”

On this I fully agree.  We need to be very mindful of our own behavior, our choices and decisions.  We need to think before acting about how the decision I am about to make affects others.  I will continue to have Rowve bags manufactured in the United States, this is important to me.  I will also continue to visit the manufacturers to make sure, to the best of my ability, that the working conditions are safe and clean.  This is how I can take responsibility for my “small corner of the world”.

I want to applaud the companies who have signed an agreement that will require them to conduct independent safety inspections in Bangladesh, and make their reports public.  They are H&M of Sweden, C&A of the Netherlands, British retailers Tesco and Primark and Zara of Spain. Unfortunately WalMart and Gap have yet to sign this agreement. 



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