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Pictures | Fri Dec 7, 2012 | 2:55am EST

Apparel factory fire reveals big brands' shadowy supply chains

Clothes printed with Disney characters are seen among debris in the Tazreen Fashions garment factory, where 112 workers died in a devastating fire last month, in Savar November 30, 2012. After the fire, both Wal-Mart and Sears admitted that their goods were being manufactured at the Tazreen Fashions workshop, even though both had specifically denied that factory authorisation as a supplier. Under pressure from big Western brands to produce huge volumes of apparel fast and at rock-bottom prices, Bangladeshi suppliers routinely sub-contract their orders, which frequently happens without the knowledge of the end-buyers. Picture taken On November 30, 2012. REUTERS/Andrew Biraj

Clothes printed with Disney characters are seen among debris in the Tazreen Fashions garment factory, where 112 workers died in a devastating fire last month, in Savar November 30, 2012. After the fire, both Wal-Mart and Sears admitted that their...more

Clothes printed with Disney characters are seen among debris in the Tazreen Fashions garment factory, where 112 workers died in a devastating fire last month, in Savar November 30, 2012. After the fire, both Wal-Mart and Sears admitted that their goods were being manufactured at the Tazreen Fashions workshop, even though both had specifically denied that factory authorisation as a supplier. Under pressure from big Western brands to produce huge volumes of apparel fast and at rock-bottom prices, Bangladeshi suppliers routinely sub-contract their orders, which frequently happens without the knowledge of the end-buyers. Picture taken On November 30, 2012. REUTERS/Andrew Biraj
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A clothing printed with a Teddy Smith design is seen among debris in the Tazreen Fashions garment factory, where 112 workers died in a devastating fire last month, in Savar November 30, 2012. After the fire, both Wal-Mart and Sears admitted that their goods were being manufactured at the Tazreen Fashions workshop, even though both had specifically denied that factory authorisation as a supplier. Under pressure from big Western brands to produce huge volumes of apparel fast and at rock-bottom prices, Bangladeshi suppliers routinely sub-contract their orders, which frequently happens without the knowledge of the end-buyers. Picture taken On November 30, 2012. REUTERS/Andrew Biraj

A clothing printed with a Teddy Smith design is seen among debris in the Tazreen Fashions garment factory, where 112 workers died in a devastating fire last month, in Savar November 30, 2012. After the fire, both Wal-Mart and Sears admitted that...more

A clothing printed with a Teddy Smith design is seen among debris in the Tazreen Fashions garment factory, where 112 workers died in a devastating fire last month, in Savar November 30, 2012. After the fire, both Wal-Mart and Sears admitted that their goods were being manufactured at the Tazreen Fashions workshop, even though both had specifically denied that factory authorisation as a supplier. Under pressure from big Western brands to produce huge volumes of apparel fast and at rock-bottom prices, Bangladeshi suppliers routinely sub-contract their orders, which frequently happens without the knowledge of the end-buyers. Picture taken On November 30, 2012. REUTERS/Andrew Biraj
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Piles of clothes are seen alongside sewing machines in the Tazreen Fashions garment factory, where 112 workers died in a devastating fire last month, in Savar November 30, 2012. After the fire, both Wal-Mart and Sears admitted that their goods were being manufactured at the Tazreen Fashions workshop, even though both had specifically denied that factory authorisation as a supplier. Under pressure from big Western brands to produce huge volumes of apparel fast and at rock-bottom prices, Bangladeshi suppliers routinely sub-contract their orders, which frequently happens without the knowledge of the end-buyers. Picture taken On November 30, 2012. REUTERS/Andrew Biraj

Piles of clothes are seen alongside sewing machines in the Tazreen Fashions garment factory, where 112 workers died in a devastating fire last month, in Savar November 30, 2012. After the fire, both Wal-Mart and Sears admitted that their goods were...more

Piles of clothes are seen alongside sewing machines in the Tazreen Fashions garment factory, where 112 workers died in a devastating fire last month, in Savar November 30, 2012. After the fire, both Wal-Mart and Sears admitted that their goods were being manufactured at the Tazreen Fashions workshop, even though both had specifically denied that factory authorisation as a supplier. Under pressure from big Western brands to produce huge volumes of apparel fast and at rock-bottom prices, Bangladeshi suppliers routinely sub-contract their orders, which frequently happens without the knowledge of the end-buyers. Picture taken On November 30, 2012. REUTERS/Andrew Biraj
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Delwar Hossain, owner of the Tazreen Fashions garment factory, where 112 workers died in a devastating fire last month, speaks during an interview at the office of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers & Exporters Association (BGMEA) in Dhaka November 29, 2012. Sweating and trembling as he fielded questions about last month's killer fire, Hossain insisted he had no idea the workshop was making clothes for Wal-Mart Stores Inc when it went up in flames. After the fire, both Wal-Mart and Sears admitted that their goods were being manufactured at the Tazreen Fashions workshop, even though both had specifically denied that factory authorisation as a supplier. Under pressure from big Western brands to produce huge volumes of apparel fast and at rock-bottom prices, Bangladeshi suppliers routinely sub-contract their orders, which frequently happens without the knowledge of the end-buyers. Picture taken November 29, 2012. REUTERS/Andrew Biraj

Delwar Hossain, owner of the Tazreen Fashions garment factory, where 112 workers died in a devastating fire last month, speaks during an interview at the office of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers & Exporters Association (BGMEA) in Dhaka November...more

Delwar Hossain, owner of the Tazreen Fashions garment factory, where 112 workers died in a devastating fire last month, speaks during an interview at the office of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers & Exporters Association (BGMEA) in Dhaka November 29, 2012. Sweating and trembling as he fielded questions about last month's killer fire, Hossain insisted he had no idea the workshop was making clothes for Wal-Mart Stores Inc when it went up in flames. After the fire, both Wal-Mart and Sears admitted that their goods were being manufactured at the Tazreen Fashions workshop, even though both had specifically denied that factory authorisation as a supplier. Under pressure from big Western brands to produce huge volumes of apparel fast and at rock-bottom prices, Bangladeshi suppliers routinely sub-contract their orders, which frequently happens without the knowledge of the end-buyers. Picture taken November 29, 2012. REUTERS/Andrew Biraj
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Clothes printed with Disney characters are seen among debris in the Tazreen Fashions garment factory, where 112 workers died in a devastating fire last month, in Savar November 30, 2012. After the fire, both Wal-Mart and Sears admitted that their goods were being manufactured at the Tazreen Fashions workshop, even though both had specifically denied that factory authorisation as a supplier. Under pressure from big Western brands to produce huge volumes of apparel fast and at rock-bottom prices, Bangladeshi suppliers routinely sub-contract their orders, which frequently happens without the knowledge of the end-buyers. Picture taken On November 30, 2012. REUTERS/Andrew Biraj

Clothes printed with Disney characters are seen among debris in the Tazreen Fashions garment factory, where 112 workers died in a devastating fire last month, in Savar November 30, 2012. After the fire, both Wal-Mart and Sears admitted that their...more

Clothes printed with Disney characters are seen among debris in the Tazreen Fashions garment factory, where 112 workers died in a devastating fire last month, in Savar November 30, 2012. After the fire, both Wal-Mart and Sears admitted that their goods were being manufactured at the Tazreen Fashions workshop, even though both had specifically denied that factory authorisation as a supplier. Under pressure from big Western brands to produce huge volumes of apparel fast and at rock-bottom prices, Bangladeshi suppliers routinely sub-contract their orders, which frequently happens without the knowledge of the end-buyers. Picture taken On November 30, 2012. REUTERS/Andrew Biraj
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Delwar Hossain, owner of the Tazreen Fashions garment factory, where 112 workers died in a devastating fire last month, speaks during an interview at the office of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers & Exporters Association (BGMEA) in Dhaka November 29, 2012. Sweating and trembling as he fielded questions about last month's killer fire, Hossain insisted he had no idea the workshop was making clothes for Wal-Mart Stores Inc when it went up in flames. After the fire, both Wal-Mart and Sears admitted that their goods were being manufactured at the Tazreen Fashions workshop, even though both had specifically denied that factory authorisation as a supplier. Under pressure from big Western brands to produce huge volumes of apparel fast and at rock-bottom prices, Bangladeshi suppliers routinely sub-contract their orders, which frequently happens without the knowledge of the end-buyers. Picture taken November 29, 2012. REUTERS/Andrew Biraj

Delwar Hossain, owner of the Tazreen Fashions garment factory, where 112 workers died in a devastating fire last month, speaks during an interview at the office of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers & Exporters Association (BGMEA) in Dhaka November...more

Delwar Hossain, owner of the Tazreen Fashions garment factory, where 112 workers died in a devastating fire last month, speaks during an interview at the office of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers & Exporters Association (BGMEA) in Dhaka November 29, 2012. Sweating and trembling as he fielded questions about last month's killer fire, Hossain insisted he had no idea the workshop was making clothes for Wal-Mart Stores Inc when it went up in flames. After the fire, both Wal-Mart and Sears admitted that their goods were being manufactured at the Tazreen Fashions workshop, even though both had specifically denied that factory authorisation as a supplier. Under pressure from big Western brands to produce huge volumes of apparel fast and at rock-bottom prices, Bangladeshi suppliers routinely sub-contract their orders, which frequently happens without the knowledge of the end-buyers. Picture taken November 29, 2012. REUTERS/Andrew Biraj
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Piles of clothes are seen alongside sewing machines in the Tazreen Fashions garment factory, where 112 workers died in a devastating fire last month, in Savar November 30, 2012. After the fire, both Wal-Mart and Sears admitted that their goods were being manufactured at the Tazreen Fashions workshop, even though both had specifically denied that factory authorisation as a supplier. Under pressure from big Western brands to produce huge volumes of apparel fast and at rock-bottom prices, Bangladeshi suppliers routinely sub-contract their orders, which frequently happens without the knowledge of the end-buyers. Picture taken On November 30, 2012. REUTERS/Andrew Biraj

Piles of clothes are seen alongside sewing machines in the Tazreen Fashions garment factory, where 112 workers died in a devastating fire last month, in Savar November 30, 2012. After the fire, both Wal-Mart and Sears admitted that their goods were...more

Piles of clothes are seen alongside sewing machines in the Tazreen Fashions garment factory, where 112 workers died in a devastating fire last month, in Savar November 30, 2012. After the fire, both Wal-Mart and Sears admitted that their goods were being manufactured at the Tazreen Fashions workshop, even though both had specifically denied that factory authorisation as a supplier. Under pressure from big Western brands to produce huge volumes of apparel fast and at rock-bottom prices, Bangladeshi suppliers routinely sub-contract their orders, which frequently happens without the knowledge of the end-buyers. Picture taken On November 30, 2012. REUTERS/Andrew Biraj
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