In 2011, Ismail Ferdous was awarded an Alexia Student Award of Excellence for his work on the impact of climate change in Bangladesh. Today, he continues to use his photography to combat his national’s ills.
Ismail is using his images to campaign for better conditions for workers in Bangladesh.
Ismail has launched a new initiative, The Cost of Fashion, which is dedicated to making the Western World aware of the turmoils of workers in Bangladesh. Ismail was working as a photojournalist when the eight story Rana Plaza building collapsed in the suburbs of Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Like our 2013 professional winner, Abir Abdullah, Ismail documented this tragedy and its aftermath: the people who died trapped in their work spaces, the families desperate to be reunited with their loved ones, and the many people permanently marred by this terrible experience.
Ismail is using his images to campaign for better conditions for workers in his homeland with The Cost of Fashion. During Fashion Week in New York, the group is determined to demonstrate the cost cheap clothing has. Last night, Ismail and his team broadcast images from Ismail’s work on Lincoln Center and on clothing stores around the city to show the fashion world the suffering they bring to the people of Bangladesh in refusing to pay fair wages or call for safer working conditions.
The Cost of Fashion campaign calls on retailers like Children’s Place, Walmart, JCPenny and Mango to compensate victims of the Rana Plaza collapse. As well, it asks the numerous Western Companies to sign the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh which would bring better working conditions to garment industry workers in Bangladesh. While many retailers have already signed the accord, giant retailers like Gap and Walmart are refusing, hobbling its ability to bring change.
The Cost of Fashion Campaign will soon be launching a 5-6 minute multimedia piece on dangers in Bangladesh’s Garment Industry and plan to produce a 30-40 minute piece on the situation of garment workers in the country.
We applaud Ismail’s work bringing this important issue to the forefront during New York Fashion Week and we are proud of the passion and energy evident in our 2011 grantee.