Have you ever wondered how we can get good quality clothes at such a low price? Have you ever thought of the people that make these clothes? Find out what the “True Cost” of the clothes we all wear and love is.
Have you ever had that feeling before an important day, event or gathering after going through your packed closet, that you have nothing to wear? While in the process of deciding you have nothing to wear you have trashed your room with countless shirts, pants, or dresses. Nothing seems to be what you are looking for and you decide you need more clothes. Next thing you know, you are walking down the mall or shopping online for a new piece of clothing that you will probably only wear for that one social gathering and then add on to the pile of clothes you never feel like wearing.
It’s easy, accessible, and not too expensive to update your wardrobe, so it might seem simple for you to throw out or donate clothes in perfectly good condition and buy something new. Yet the question we should all be asking ourselves in moments like these is: what are the consequences of having clothes accessible to us at such low prices? Has fast fashion blinded us from the reality of what it takes for us to have what we have? These are the questions Andrew Morgan set out to answer in his powerful documentary, The True Cost.
The Fashion industry has grown exponentially in the past 50-60 years becoming one of the most prominent and influential industries. In the early years, fashion brands only released new collections with limited pieces every season, allowing for slow, high quality production. But today’s fashion industry stocks new outfits and pieces every week, paving the way for fast fashion. Fast fashion was created by fashion corporations to provide fast and constant income, allowing big companies to sell their products at low costs. Yet, with this growth and success comes heartache, pain and death, not usually the first three things that come to your mind when you think of fashion, which is precisely why The True Cost is such an important documentary.
The True Cost, is a heart-wrenching, eye-opening documentary on the real cost of accessible low-cost fashion. Big companies like H&M, Forever21 and Zara bombard us with advertisements that manipulate us into craving that new white jacket, those new black heels, that seem affordable to the average middle-class consumer. Yet the means and methods used by these corporations to provide low cost, good quality clothing comes at a very high price for the 40 million women and men that slave away in the factories of developing countries.
Shima Akhter is a young Bangladeshi woman who works in a garment factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh. She is the mother of a sweet little girl that lives far away in Shima’s home village being raised by her family. It breaks her heart to be away from her daughter, she cries when she talks about her, but she has to do this to be able to provide her with an education so she doesn’t end up like Shima. Shima is paid 11 Dhs a day, roughly 300 Dhs a month. When Shima created a women’s union at her factory to demand higher wages, her union was forced into a room, assaulted with chairs, punched and kicked by 30 men. Shima never asked for a raise again. Her only request now, from the people that watch the documentary is one thing “I want people to know that the clothes they are wearing, are not just made cheaply, they are made with our blood”.
On 24 April 2013 a seven-story garment factory collapsed in Rana Plaza, Dhaka, Bangladesh. More than one thousand people were killed that day and more than two thousand were severely injured. People were heard screaming from underneath the rubble for days. To avoid any disruption in the production and the revenue, the building, even though notably unsafe, was never shut down. Lives were lost, people died, because they were sitting in front of sewing machines creating shirts we would have probably worn once.
We are all addicts. Addicted to consumerism, blinded by the need to obtain the latest phones, laptops, shoes, dresses, makeup. We are constantly spending our money on things we don’t need; making rich companies richer and ourselves poorer. It is a vicious cycle, that goes on continuously. We need consumerism for our economies, to sustain our way of life, but has our need for materialism stripped away our humanity? Are we so dead inside that we would turn a blind eye on the injustice another human being is suffering, the threat of losing their lives, to have things we rarely even need?
I would like to think not; I would like to have more faith in humanity and there are those that are trying. The World Fair Trade Organization are doing everything in their power to ensure justice is applied in production factories. The company People Tree have dedicated their efforts to providing good quality clothing made in safe and productive environments, providing third world countries with jobs but not stripping away their dignity. The Director of The True Cost, is trying through the film to shed a light on this dilemma, to make people more aware of factory conditions and hopefully force consumers to realize their role in all this.
Watch this documentary. If it makes you feel the way it made me feel at the end of it, hopefully, you will begin to consider every purchase you make from now on and think about the honorable people that are sacrificing so much to make these items.
Documentary Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OaGp5_Sfbss
Why This Film? Message from the Director: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TrvxwjSqRrM
- Firth, L. (2016, August 23). Why you’re right to feel guilty about your love of cheap clothes. Retrieved from World Economic Forum : https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/08/why-you-re-right-to-feel-guilty-about-your-love-of-cheap-clothes?utm_content=buffer6e403&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer
- Hargreaves, S. (2015, May 22). Your Clothes Are Killing Us. Retrieved from CNN Money: http://money.cnn.com/2015/05/22/news/economy/true-cost-clothing/
- Minow, N. (2015, May 22). The True Cost of Fashion: Andrew Morgan on His New Documentary. Retrieved from The Huffington Post : http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nell-minow/the-true-cost-of-fashion-_b_7300380.html
- People Tree. (2016). Our Story. Retrieved from People Tree: http://www.peopletree.co.uk/about-us
- The True Cost Movie . (2015). About the film. Retrieved from The True Cost Movie : http://truecostmovie.com/