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May 8, 2013 By Elizabeth Share
Yes, a garment factory that manufactures products for international clothing companies collapsed outside of Dhaka, Bangladesh, killing more than 800 workers in the deadliest disaster ever in the garment industry. But what really collapsed should be any illusions we have about the true costs to human rights and the environment of the cheap clothes produced by big chains such as H&M and Wal-Mart. I believe we owe it to ourselves—and especially to our children—to understand the ways in which our voracious demand for cheap goods is perpetuating the conditions that allow for such a tragedy to occur, and is helping to keep the women and children who work in these factories impoverished and in debt in spite of their labor. Two resources helping me in this regard are Elizabeth Cline’s Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion and GoodGuide.com, a very easy online tool for learning about the true costs of our favorite products.