This is about the ‘fast-fashion’ or high-street fashion and their continuing practice of employing sweat-shops to churn out affordable fashion. A hard-hitting new documentary called “The True Cost”, that premiers today makes the ramifications of fast fashion very clear and very concrete. When you buy a top at H&M for $9.95 or a pair of leggings from Forever21 for $3.90 or a Mango skirt for $10.95, I am sure you know how fast fashion companies keep their prices so low. You know that somewhere in India or Bangladesh, the clothing is getting produced in sweat-shops for pennies by workers working in abject working conditions.
Director Andrew Morgan traveled everywhere from India to Texas, speaking with cotton farmers, factory workers, company execs, fair trade brands, economists and environmental activists. In the Punjab region of India, the use of pesticides in cotton farming has lead to a spike in cancer rates and birth defects in the children of farmers.
The thing about “The True Cost” is that Morgan isn’t trying to tell us not to buy clothing. He’s saying that we shouldn’t enable the cycle of mass production, consumption and disposal on which companies like Topshop and H&M are built. “I don’t want anyone to walk away from this film and think less of fashion, I don’t want to feel guilty if I love the things that I love to wear. What I’m trying to get through is: let’s all take a step back from this incessant process of consuming mediocre stuff. And let’s go back to a place where we invest in pieces of clothing that we love, that we’re going to wear, that we’re going to hold on to.”