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Devin D. Thorpe

Devin Thorpe

On Our Radar Launches New Campaign To Uncover The True Stories Of Garment Workers In Bangladesh

Brand new web documentary aims to cut through compassion fatigue to reveal the humans behind the high street

Press Release – On Our Radar, the communications agency for unheard communities, has today launched The Lives Behind The Label – a web documentary comprising of six, intimate short films that reveal the humans stories behind the clothes we wear every day. The new documentary mimics the style of a typical aspirational fashion website to visually represent the hopes, dreams and hardships of garment workers in Bangladesh and balance the stereotypical and often negative images of their lives that have dominated the media following the collapse of Rana Plaza in 2013.

The six films delve deeper into the lives of female garment workers aged between 24 and 42 years. They take a closer look at female autonomy, life as a member of the ‘third gender’ community, the dreams of aspiring dancers, fashionistas and activists, and also feature the story of a Rana Plaza survivor. The films can be accessed here.

Commenting on The Lives Behind The Labels, Paul Myles, Head of Editorial, On Our Radar, said: “We have a connection with garment workers in Bangladesh through the supply chain, yet they remain a group of people that are largely painted in a negative, one-dimensional way. Communities are experts by experience and the most powerful stories come straight from the source.”

On Our Radar gathered a rich collection of stories that look beyond the stereotypes by empowering garment workers through its unique grassroots approach. Rather than interviewing the workers with a set of preconceived themes and stories, On Our Radar ran storytelling workshops with 80 garment workers, facilitated by the Awaj Foundation – one of Bangladesh’s largest trade unions – on how best to communicate their personal stories.

The approach allowed On Our Radar to build a collective picture of common themes and concerns and ensure its understanding was true to the workers’ experience at every stage. On Our Radar did not film anything for the first half of the trip to focus its attention on exploring open-ended questions, allowing for surprising and unexpected conversations.

Myles added: “By taking a collaborative approach and blending our pitching and production skills with the garment workers’ authenticity and power as storytellers, The Lives Behind The Labels humanises the people who make our clothes. We encourage other organisations to work more closely with the most marginalised communities in the world and allow them to be the expert voice on their own experience.”

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