Women wearing face masks work at Liz Fashion Industry Limited, a garment manufacturer, in Gazipur on the outskirts of
Dhaka, Bangladesh on Jan. 3, 2021 | Salim/Xinhua News Agency/PA Images

I

n 2019 the fashion industry generated $2.5trn in global revenues, making it one of
the largest industries in the world. But when COVID-19 struck in 2020, it virtually

collapsed.
Exports of raw materials from China began to slow in January last year, and
subsequent lockdowns around the world meant shoppers stayed at home, retailers
shuttered stores, and billions of dollars of orders were cancelled. Thousands of
factories faced ruin, and many closed either temporarily or permanently.
In countries such as India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, tens of thousands of workers
lost their jobs and thousands more were taken ill as COVID-19 spread through
cramped production lines. Where people dared to speak up about unsafe or unfair
conditions, they were often met with redundancy or brutality.

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