Maryam writes about Fast Fashion buildings

STRINGER/BANGLADESH/REUTERS Rescue workers attempt to rescue garment workers from the rubble of the collapsed Rana Plaza building, in Savar, 30 km (19 miles) outside Dhaka April 28, 2013. Fire broke out on Sunday in a garment factory that collapsed in the Bangladeshi capital, complicating attempts to find any survivors of a disaster that has killed 377 people

STRINGER/BANGLADESH/REUTERS

Rescue workers attempt to rescue garment workers from the rubble of the collapsed Rana Plaza building, in Savar, 30 km (19 miles) outside Dhaka April 28, 2013. Fire broke out on Sunday in a garment factory that collapsed in the Bangladeshi capital, complicating attempts to find any survivors of a disaster that has killed 377 people

Since designer brands, whether in clothing or custom-made products such as furniture, textile and home goods, are not the fundamental basis of priority goods to sustain a living, often these goods are categorized in secondary or tertiary needs. Therefore, the cost and demand fluctuates based on the consumers market. With today’s economic turmoil, consumers are not in immediate need to buy clothing, let alone “designer” clothing. Thus, retailers such as JC Penny, Mango, Walmart, Fresh Joe, etc. are under pressure to keep overhead of their companies to a minimal low while selling products with a 300%-1000% markup (a profit is made even if the product is on “sale” for a consumer in Europe or the United States). In order for overhead to be kept minimal, sacrifices are made. There are three categories in which the designer can make sacrifices to meet the market’s demand and still gain profit: the quality of the product, the employees, and the factory. Designers will never sacrifice their product. Take Louis Vuitton, for example; rather than selling their product after several years above the marginal price, each year if their line is not sold, they burn the line to avoid sacrificing their brand.

 

Savar building collapse, Bangladesh. On April 24, 2013, in the Savar Upazila of Dhaka, Bangladesh, an eight-story commercial building named Rana Plaza, collapsed. (Photo Credit: rijans / Flickr)

Savar building collapse, Bangladesh. On April 24, 2013, in the Savar Upazila of Dhaka, Bangladesh, an eight-story commercial building named Rana Plaza, collapsed. (Photo Credit: rijans / Flickr)

Sadly, this 8-story building which had over 3,122 employees, ” most of them female garment workers between the ages of 18 and 20″, did not have adequate walls, based on the 1-hour rating and typical standard doors, which allow for a minimal 1-hour rating and adequate circulation space. By U.S. standards in any given space, there needs to be an emergency exit route without the use of elevators or electrical lifting, down to the ground level. Typically at every 20′-0″ in either direction there must be an emergency exit door for evacuation. This building failed to meet that standard as well.

Originally Published in TIM