Category Archives: Films

WATCH // Udita (Arise): a film on garment making in Bangladesh


Udita Poster


On April 24th 2013, the Rana Plaza building collapsed in Bangladesh. Over 1,130 workers were killed and thousands more were left injured. These workers were producing garments for consumers in Europe and North America.

We have now marked the two year anniversary of the collapse, yet the ILO trust fund established to support victims and their families remains nearly 3 million dollars short.

Rana Plaza was not the first industrial accident of its kind in Bangladesh, and building (and fire) safety is not the only challenge faced by garment workers.

Udita, the latest documentary from The Rainbow Collective, brings together footage capturing garment work in Bangladesh, collected over a five year period.

The Rainbow Collective premiered the film in East London at the Unite The Union Community Centre to a packed house on 24 April, marking the 2nd anniversary of the Rana Plaza collapse.

Udita Trailer (full documentary below):


Udita asks its audience to listen to the testimonies of workers and organisers. No simple solution is presented. No judgements are passed. Viewers are left to draw their own connections.

Thanks to The Rainbow Collective for making Udita free and accessible.

Please watch and share through your networks.

Udita (full documentary):

Note: This blog post was also published on Routes blog, with permission. 

Advocates for child rights in India compromised — BBC apologises

You may recall the BBC One documentary “Panorama: Primark – On the Rack” (June 2008) that, allegedly, uncovered Primark subcontractors exploiting children in India for cheap labour.

Well, if you’ve been following the latest in the BBC/Panorama/Primark scandal, you’ve likely heard the news this month that footage from the BBC report is now said to have been fraudulent.

According to the BBC Trust, “Primark complained about the programme to the BBC Executive and then appealed to the Editorial Standards Committee of the BBC Trust (“the Committee”) against the decision of the BBC Executive’s Editorial Complaints Unit (“the ECU”).”

The Committee determined that Dan McDougall’s reporting was, essentially, staged; “the Committee concluded that, on the balance of probabilities, it was more likely than not that the Bangalore footage was not authentic.”

UK Guardian reporter James Robinson writes “[t]he decision by the trust is understood to have infuriated BBC News staff, who privately say that the Primark case has demonstrated that the corporation’s complaints procedure is flawed.”

What did McDougall have to say on the Committee’s findings? McDougall claims to “have rarely seen a finding so unjust in outcome, flawed in process, and deeply damaging to investigative journalism.”

It’s important to remember that the reporting in question was the footage from Bangalore alone, and that there was other footage within the documentary depicting work done by children and homeworkers:

  • 23 February – In a refugee camp on the outskirts of Tirupur, the Journalist films two children working on the Complainant’s garments.
  • 24 February – In Pollachi, the Journalist finds the Complainant’s sequinned vest tops outsourced to home workers.

(Source: Finding of the Editorial Standards Committee of the BBC Trust:  Pg. 15)

And so, in the end, the BBC says it will apologize to Primark for claiming the company was guilty of using child labour in India….when the company is allegedly guilty of using child labour in India? Right.

Well, at least we know the Indian Government will be happy; a recent post by Clothesource Comments breaks down the true impact a scandal like this has in the Indian context quite poignantly, claiming the incident has crippled the tireless efforts of organizations working to eradicate child labour within the country.

Be sure to keep your eye on this story—only time will tell how it all will play out.


Our friends over at Re-dress in Ireland have been BUSY!

In less than one month, Re-dress will present FASHION EVOLUTION, Ireland’s 3rd ethical fashion week:

“Fashion Evolution aims to re-vitalise the spirit of the Irish fashion industry, with a schedule of exciting events catering for consumers, producers, retailers and supporters of fashion alike.” (Re-dress)

Our mission is to provide the Irish fashion sector with the tools needed to make more sustainable fashion choices.” (Re-dress)

We don’t think they’ll have any trouble accomplishing this goal–just take a look at what they have planned!

When: Tuesday 4th April
Where: Online
Cost: Free

When: Wednesday 5th 6-8pm
Where: Sugar Club, Upper Leeson Street, Dublin
Cost: 15 Euros BOOK NOW!

When: Wednesday 5th 8.30-10pm
Where: Sugar Club, Upper Leeson Street, Dubin
Cost: 10 Euros BOOK NOW!

When: Thursday 6th 9am-2pm
Where: Fallon and Byrne
Cost: 40 Euros (students and unemployed 20 euros) BOOK NOW!!

When: Thursday 6th Time TBC
Where: TBC

When: Friday 7th 7pm
Where: Smock Alley Café

What: EJF Cotton T-shirt exhibit
When: Tuesday 4th-Saturday 8th 10am-5pm daily
Where: The Greenhouse
Cost: FREE

Location: Ireland
Link out: Click here
Start Date: 2010-05-04
End Date: 2010-05-08



HBO“A cautionary story of labor and greed, Schmatta: Rags to Riches to Rags follows the decline of the once-robust apparel manufacturing industry in the U.S., while chronicling the industry’s relationship with unions and government. From the “Garmento” to the seamstress, from the designer to the marketing maven, from the small businessman to the financier, Schmatta offers a firsthand account of how the industry helped generations of Americans march out of poverty and right into the golden age of the American middle class. But while Schmatta reminds us of the early days of the garment industry and its heyday, it also probes its troubling decline, which has occurred largely within the last 30 years. In 1965, 95% of American clothing was made in the U.S.A.; by 2009, only 5% is manufactured here.

Director Marc Levin focuses his lens on Manhattan’s Garment District, an eight-block area on Manhattan’s West Side which gave birth to the domestic industrial labor movement, and played a key role in major American political activities. From its immigrant origins in the 19th Century, the labor movement rose quickly against deplorable sweatshop conditions. In recent years, however, the realities of automation, deregulation, globalization and outsourcing – all part of the race to the bottom line – eventually eroded the industry’s unprecedented momentum (more)” (HBO Synopsis)

Click here to read the review by Women’s Wear Daily, “HBO Heads Inside the Garment Center” by Rosemary Feitelberg.

Premieres Oct. 19 th-click here for showtimes.

Source: NLC and HBO

Valentino, Anna Wintour and Coco Chanel, before Chanel

If you are interested in the inner workings of the world of fashion, these movies will introduce you to some influential players: Valentino, Anna Wintour and Coco Chanel, before Chanel. These films will no doubt offer insight into the way in which certain design decisions, made by only a few influential individuals, have impacted the entire industry.

What are the negative/positive consequences of such influential decisions?

Here are the trailers: