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Courtesy of New International
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What does ‘Made in Bangladesh’ mean?

What are the hopes and concerns of garment factory workers in Bangladesh?

On Our Radar and partners New Internationalist and Fashion Revolution wanted to know more about the garment industry in Bangladesh and the people who make the clothes we all wear every day. It’s a topic that has received increasing interest in the media over the past few years but most of the depictions of the workers have been very one-dimensional. What is the perspective of these garment workers. What does the work actually meant to them? How has it changed their lives? How has it changed their country? Through a series of six short films, 'Lives Behind the Labels' reveals the hopes, dreams and concerns of garment factory workers in Bangladesh.

The true story behind ‘Made in Bangladesh’

It’s very refreshing to hear garment workers' personal point of view about their position in stead of reading assumptions in Western media on what their lives are like

"Made in Bangladesh’ has become an instantly recognisable symbol. But what springs to mind when you read these words in the collar of your shirt? The media in the West tend to present a grim, one-dimensional picture of garment factories: women crouched over sewing machines working long hours for low pay, for unscrupulous employers whose negligence leads to disasters such as the 2013 Rana Plaza collapse, which killed 1.135 people and left thousands more injured.

That is part of the truth, but it is not the whole story. The rise of factory work has also brought radical changes and new freedoms, creating new social classes and shaking up habits and lifestyles. In Lives Behind The Label you hear about some of these changes, directly from the factory workers who are living through this period of rapid industrialisation. On Our Radar partnered with a local trade union and organised workshops with 80 Bangladeshi garment workers, encouraging them to share their experiences. This open approach ensured that the documentary makers did not start with too many preconceptions, in order to reveal human and universal stories.

Watch the trailer of Lives Behind The Label

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What does ‘Made in Bangladesh’ mean?

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