I visited Bangladesh in 2011. The second day I was invited for tea with a family in Dhaka. Tea turned to lunch and before dinner I had accepted an offer to simply move in with them. I stayed for a month and in the meantime me and Ishraq, the son of the family, traveled around the country to visit his relatives. After that I have had returned several times. Among them, in 2014, for my diploma project in architecture, to design proposals for social- and environmentally sustainable textile factories. This project is displayed below.
Bangladesh is today the world’s second largest exporter of garments, with around 5 million textile workers. Most of them are working in factories controlled by post-colonial interests.
In April 2013, 1129 people died and around 2500 were injured when the textile factory Rana Plaza collapsed. After this the international buyers started to make higher demands on factory safety and working conditions. Still, the fashion industry does not care enough about the worker’s life situation outside the factory walls.
To get a job, most textile workers have to move from different parts of Bangladesh to the factory areas around Dhaka. They often rent a small room in a metal shed dormitory with a shared toilet. Many parents must leave their children in their home village because they cannot afford to rent a place for the whole family near the factory.
Our dream is to design and change the textile industry, both in Bangladesh and elsewhere. We aim to build new decentralized factories, sustainable for the people who are working in them, the village and the planet. When you buy a product from us our dream comes closer to reality.
The first collection is fair trade, produced by our partner, Thanapara Swallows Development Society, Rajshahi, Bangladesh. The cotton is 100 % organic, from Gujarat, India. The fabrics are handmade, dyed with natural colors without the use of chemicals - indigo, from The Rangpur District, clay from The Padma river (Ganges) and recycled black tea from the local markets.
Founder of decentbangla