Spanish artist Yolanda Domínguez brought the horror of the Rana Plaza building collapse in Bangladesh (one of the deadliest in the garment industry’s history) to Madrid’s tony Gran Vía–a shopping district home to flagship stores like Mango, Zara, and H&M.
Titled “Fashion Victims”, Dominguez’s work was meant to highlight the actual victims and the many unethical practices that happen globally in clothing manufactoring. Inspired by the April 24 disaster, where at least 1,127 garment workers lost their lives, Dominguez “buried” several fashion models (who all agreed to wave their regular fees), under piles of rubble, projecting their limbs–a clear suggestion of the many photos of mangled bodies that emerged in the tragedy’s aftermath.
“Fashion Victims”, according to Dominguez, “Means to bring into the light of day the real “fashion victims”: the enslaved workers and child exploitation and the millions harmed by the contamination that the factories produce in the production countries.the enslaved workers and child exploitation and the millions harmed by the contamination that the factories produce in the production countries.”
According to a survey by engineers in Bangladesh, nearly three-fifths of garment factories the South Asian country are vulnerable to collapse, placing the lives of millions of workers at risk. Bangladesh is the world’s second largest supplier of clothes, 80 percent of which are bound for the U.S. or European market.
Rana Plaza was not the first deadly incident this year. In January, a fire killed at least seven workers at another Bangladeshi factory making clothes for Zara’s parent company, Inditex.
Dominguez hopes the installation offers an appeal for responsible production and consumption, both for people and the planet. Her choice of stage was also incredibly apt: Spain is home to some of the biggest fast-fashion chains on the planet.