TOKYO -- In April 2013, an eight-story building in Bangladesh collapsed, killing over 1,000 people, many of them women making garments for well-known international brands. The tragedy did much to raise concerns over the poor working conditions in the country's garment industry, and especially the lack of safety measures.
Nearly five years later, things have changed. Many manufacturers are now confident conditions have improved sufficiently, and the time is right to capitalize on the country's manufacturing advantages. Global apparel makers such as Japan's Fast Retailing, operator of the Uniqlo chain, have been lured by low labor costs that compare favorably with China's soaring wages.