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Joe Fresh's Mimran reaffirms commitment to helping victims of Bangladesh tragedy

TORONTO - As the one-year anniversary of the fatal factory collapse in Bangladesh approaches, the creative director of Joe Fresh said the brand's parent company remains committed to helping victims and families affected by the tragedy.

"There's been a lot of work done with respect to that," said Joe Mimran in an interview at Toronto's World MasterCard Fashion Week on Wednesday. "There's about 40 brands that are involved, and I know about 15 of them have all committed so far."

More than 1,100 people died in the April 24 tragedy at the illegally constructed Rana Plaza, making it the world's worst garment industry accident. Items created for Joe Fresh were among those manufactured on-site, but a number of other clothing makers were also housed in the complex.

Last October, Joe Fresh brand owner Loblaw Companies Ltd. said it would provide short-term financial support to all workers or dependents of New Wave Style (which produced Joe Fresh items) and planned to join with British retailer Primark to provide financial assistance to workers of all retailers in the factory plaza.

Bob Chant, senior vice-president of corporate affairs and communications for Loblaw, told The Canadian Press in an interview last December that the company was proceeding with short-term compensation plans and had plans for long-term compensation as well.

Loblaw has also contributed $1 million to Save the Children Bangladesh and the Centre for Rehabilitation of the Paralysed, in support of programming for workers in the garment industry.

The company also joined several retailers in signing a pact to improve fire and building safety in Bangladesh. The agreement requires that the companies conduct independent safety inspections, make their reports on factory conditions public and cover the costs for needed repairs.

The companies that agreed to the pact join two other retailers that signed the contract in 2012: PVH, which makes clothes under the Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger and Izod labels, and German retailer Tchibo.

Mimran said he was proud of how his brand's parent company had rallied around what was "a tragic situation."

- Follow @lauren_larose on Twitter.

The Canadian Press

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