Paraty, midway between São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, was a place of periodic trade booms in the colonial era, variously dominating Brazil's gold-mining industry, cachaça distilling and (briefly) coffee exports. Since 2002, it has hosted Flip, the Paraty International Literary Festival, modelled on Hay-on-Wye. Once reliant on exports, the city now depends on the import of culture.
The details of the collapse of the Rana Plaza factory in Dhaka a year ago have become familiar: the workers coerced into entering the structurally unsound building, the first tremors, the two minutes it took for the factory to fall to its foundations, the 17 days of searching for survivors in the rubble, the tally of 1138 bodies. Despite the photographs and the personal accounts, the event seems oddly distant and too readily memorialised in much of the recent coverage. In the UK, 24 April is Fashion Revolution Day: shoppers are encouraged to wear their clothes inside out to bring attention to the conditions in which they were produced. But the general popular response to the Rana Plaza disaster – aside from the dogged work of long-running campaigns such as Clean Clothes, Labour Behind the Label and Love Fashion Hate Sweatshops – has been limited and fragmentary.