Seven Garment Workers Have Reportedly Died In a Denim Factory
The factory is one of the world's leading denim manufacturers.
UPDATE, Feb. 12 at 9:15 a.m.: While the Nandan's website lists Target as one of their retailers, Target tells InStyle that it has no affiliation with the factory and representatives are looking into the matter.
Seven workers have reportedly died in a fire that broke out in the Nandan Denim factory in Ahmedabad, India on Feb.8.
According to Indian Express, the bodies of the workers were recovered between Saturday night and Sunday afternoon. The cause of the fire is unknown; however, the report says that the factory was not ventilated, and that there was only one exit on the first floor, accessible only by ladder. The Express also reports that six people, including the owner and managing director of Chiripal Group, which owns the factory, are in custody for "culpable homicide and negligence."
The factory is one of the leading producers of denim, and its retailers reportedly include Zara, Target, and Ralph Lauren. According to Laura Gutierrez, the South Asia Field Director of the Workers Rights Consortium in Washington D.C., inspection issues are likely a part of this problem. "If they did inspect it [the factory], they failed to identify and fix the deadly hazard that killed these workers," she told InStyle via email.
"We believe that an enforceable agreement between workers and brands is the only way to eliminate the safety risks in the industry," she explained. "We have seen this model lead to sweeping improvements to factories in Bangladesh under the Accord on Fire and Building Safety, which we hope to see expanded to India and Pakistan." Bangladesh was where the Rana Plaza garment factory collapsed in 2013, killing over 1100 workers.
Labor protections are one of the most pervasive issues in the garment industry, and the lack of reliable oversight is a major part of the problem. A 2018 study from Common Objective concluded that every year, over a million work-related injuries take place in the garment industry, and they are often due to facility neglect and even abuse. One of the most recent examples of this happened just two months ago when a fire broke out at a handbag factory in India, where 43 workers died.
InStyle has reached out to Nandan for comment.